I'm working with a group of people to build a central database for the survivors of Katrina and their relatives (up on http://www.thekatrinaportal.com/).
We could use volunteers and other help with this effort, so drop me a line if you want to help out.
We're specifically looking for scraping experts, and help on the web interface/xml api to get the data back out to others.
What we have now is built with CGI::Application and Class:DBI (and HTML::Template::Plugin::Dot), so if you're familiar with those, all the better.
I'm pasting Britt Blasers request here:
What we're doing
Donovan Janus and Rhesa Rozendaal are building a Katrina Data Aggregator at The Katrina Portal, which should go live at by about noon EDT today. The Katrina Portal allows people to enter data like all the others, but its real purpose is for volunteers to copy text information from text lists and to enter it into a structured format.
Then the site exposes the data through XML-API to any agency that needs it. It can also create overviews of tabular and graphical views for use in decision support for relief management and for the Main Stream Media.
John Vincenzo has started to re-purpose an existing pattern recognition tool to spider the lists for importing text and starting the data normalization.
Or, roll your own.
What we need
We need one or more Perl coders to help finish John's GREP pattern matcher to spider the lists for importing text. It's based on a tool he built at UBS Warburg in 1996 for pattern recognition in huge ASCII files from the New York Stock Exchange. John is very busy, including the fact that his brother lost everything in Katrina, and is slightly injured.
The two tasks are to finish the tool and to configure data descriptions for each of the uniquely configured lists, which volunteers can do.
Can anyone help? Can you hook John up with someone who can?
That's probably enough for the three of you to totally get it. The rest of this message is background.
The original plea inspiring the Katrina Portal, from Brian Oberkirch to Doc Searls on Thursday, is attached below. FWIW, our two stateside programmers, Rhett Brown and John Vincenzo, have lost a total of four homes in their immediate families. Donovan Janus in Australia and Rhesa Rozendaal in Norway are working just as hard on the Katrina response.
Thanks in advance,
Begin forwarded message:
> From: Doc Searls
> Date: September 1, 2005 3:59:32 AM EDT
> To: Britt Blaser
> Subject: Fwd: Social Web Help for Slidell Hurricane Victims?
> I think some of your friends might have ideas.
>> To: Jason Fried , Dave Winer ,
>> , hugh macleod ,
>> Craig Newmark , Evan Williams ,
>> Dan Cederholm , Doc Searls ,
>> Cc: David Parmet
>> Subject: Social Web Help for Slidell Hurricane Victims?
>> From: Brian Oberkirch
>> Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 00:06:35 -0500
>> Anyone have any ideas about how I can get this data out & circulating for greater effect? Today, I posted a link to a CNN video. Jennifer Watson posted a comment that she had been looking for her father since Sunday, and through the video was able to find out that he was alive & ok. I want more stories like this, but the requests are buried in comments. How can I amp up the social interaction? Any thinking greatly appreciated. Our little town is crushed. Help us, Obi-Wan. Thanks much. Peace & light.
>> LazyWeb, Don't Fail Me Now
>> Over at the Slidell Hurricane Damage blog, I have hundreds of people posting comments asking about loved ones, damage, etc. Many email me, and I post up their inquiries. I'm afraid the requests are hidden away in the comments. Anyone have a quickie Web 2.0 way I can extract and circulate this information to let the hive mind work its magick?
>> Need the social Web bomb squad on this. People need help. I want to help them.
>> Hey Tech Pros, you asked what you could do to help. Here's one thing you could help me with.
>> Brian Oberkirch