Letters to the editor.
I received a copy of Information Today in the mail. I read with deep interest [Kurt Schiller's] article on "Disaster Response: Technology Makes a Difference" in the May 2011 issue. I recently retired from the Naval War College as a Professor and Director of the Library. I have worked in the Disaster Preparedness Field for years and even compiled a Disaster Preparedness Workbook for Cultural Institutions Within the Military with the help of Beth Patkus, which was completed in 2009. I had done an earlier version in 1998 but that was before 9/11 and [Hurricane] Katrina. The latter publication covers those areas, and the only chapter I did not have time to write was on Terrorism.
Your article is very interesting as to what can now be accomplished with Technology. I would like to ask if you would consider allowing me to post an electronic link (if one is available) to the PADG website at the American Library Association. I know that preservation people would be very interested in reading your article. ...
Thank you for the important coverage of technology and disaster issues ("Disaster Response: Technology Makes a Difference," May 2011).
The National Library of Medicine [NLM], an arm of the National Institutes of Health, is the world's largest medical library and is also responding to this increasingly digital age and the opportunities it provides.
The NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) performs and supports disaster informatics research and develops information products, services, and tools to serve emergency responders and managers. Tools including smartphone apps and web applications with decision management algorithms respond to disasters and emergencies. Examples include but are not limited to Re-Unite, a lost person finder; a Digital Pen Triage system; redundant communication systems; the Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) for HazMat incidents; and the Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) resource for the diagnosis and treatment of radiation injuries. REMM was recently deployed in Japan.
Through a partnership with publishers, NLM provided free, full--text articles from over 200 biomedical journals and over 65 select reference books for medical teams responding to disasters and the libraries supporting their efforts. This Emergency Access Initiative has been activated for the Haiti earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak, the floods in Pakistan and the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation event in Japan.
While we can never expect the unexpected, all of these initiatives are important steps to helping people in need when they are most vulnerable.
-Steven J. Phillips, MD
NLM Associate Director, Specialized Information Services
National Institutes of Health