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September 07, 2005


Jon Garfunkel

But wait. The American Red Cross has been running such a service for years, and immediately set one up for Katrina — http://www.familylinks.icrc.org/katrina/people

I ran a simple test, I picked what I thought was a fitting sample name– Levi. FamilyLinks returns 8 Levi’s and 30 names that started LEV or LEW. When I use KatrinaList, I get 4 Levi’s– none the same– and 25 extras (matching where people had mis-spelled levee).


They're a little different, Jon. The ICRC database contains data from displaced people who the Red Cross has helped out. The database that we built was filled by entering data from bulletin boards, forums, blog comments, etc. across the web. There will be some overlap between the two - and, indeed, we're working with ICRC to resolve the two - but there are going to be a number of people in the db that we put together who aren't in the Red Cross db. The purpose wasn't to supercede the ICRC database, but to complement it with a set of information the Red Cross doesn't have in their database.

Jon Lebkowsky

But what did you expect? The American Red Cross enters data for everyone it registers. Their data is structured from the word go, and it's data for people who actually reach the Red Cross - all found people. We're adding data from thousands of unstructured posts that were created by diverse individuals. Yes, there were incorrect spellings. Yes, there were incomplete records (note the Levi whose last name is unknown). The data's imperfect and sometimes redundant. But we're hopefully getting the data into a more useful format where it can be matched with records like the Red Cross's, and ultimately help match evacuees with people who are looking for them. If you're saying that our apples aren't oranges, of course we agree. You do make one useful point, we probably need a search that's restricted to name fields.

Jon Garfunkel

Jon, Ethan-- thanks. Andy Carvin filled me in over at ROS-- that the ICRC hasn't done a great job of promoting it.

Yes, from a technological perspective, the "re-construction" of data is fairly impressive. And not to mention that it took people days to engineer what took the ICRC perhaps a longer bit of time.

I am curious in the efficacy of the sytems. I asked earlier in the week on this blog-- has anyone studied how FamilyLinks or the other services worked in matching people up after the tsunami last year?

Jon Lebkowsky

I don't know that anyone has, but if so, I'd like to see what they found. We've certainly discussed how the PF data could be matched effectively.


looking for my mother in baton rouge hospital or assisted living center her name is joy ables im her son myles schulz she has diabetes bronchitis emphysema and is on a breathing machine any help would be very appreciated


my mother is 66 years old she is from marrero la. wynhoven assisted living center if found tell her to call area code 281 353 3489 ask for myles schulz again her name is joy ables im her son

becky duke

Wanda, Mike or Stepahnie PLEASE contact me tolet us know you are all alright! We love you And are pryaing for you.

Jesse Duke

This is my stepmother, they live in Slydell La. if anyone knows their where abouts PLEASE contact us in Florida @ 863-638-2730 or863-638-2956. WE Are Praying for you.

Lola Thompson

I am looking for three people: Nicole Maceiek, Diane Macieik, and Amanda Maceiek. Nicole is my best friend and I really need to find her. Call me at 231-408-1372

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