Mapping a Tornado Tragedy: A Crowdsourcing Case Study

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CONFERENCE: Library Technology Conference

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On April 13, 2006, an F2 tornado formed in Southwest Iowa City. Eight minutes and 4.5 miles later, the twister dissipated, leaving more than $12 million in damages. In honor of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, the Iowa City Public Library collected images and stories from community members who experienced this historic event. Members of the public submitted more than 2,500 images and video to the library for its digital collections on its Omeka website. ICPL plotted many of these images onto a Neatline map where users could tour the destruction digitally. This session shares the project’s "lessons learned": What factors led to successful crowdsourcing? What struggles did crowd-controlled curation invite? It covers the marketing strategies, technology tools, and interactive print and e-sign exhibits that grew from the map. ICPL will provide analytics on the map’s use as well as attendance numbers for the library program produced in tandem with the digital tour. Tour the tornado path in advance at