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Information Professionals Respond Following Terrorist Attacks
by
Posted On September 17, 2001
This has been a tough week for all of us—the tragic loss of life is almost unthinkable. First, we watched the news in horror and disbelief and then scrambled to find and share information relating to the disaster. Information professionals quickly jumped to meet the call to provide assistance to each other and to the many who need access to news and information. E-mail, listservs, and Web sites were widely used to help people find desperately needed information.

News librarians and researchers on the NewsLib listserv quickly shared key pieces of information and resources—everything from data on the World Trade Towers to a directory of companies to statistics on terrorism. Newspaper librarians from all over the country sent their front pages and special-edition coverage of the disaster to the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, where they are posted and accessible at http://www.poynter.org. The institute also has a special page with terrorism information at http://www.poynter.org/terrorism.

The following are some examples of the valuable information resources that have been provided by concerned individuals:

In addition, LexisNexis has made relevant material available for free from its news and information archives at http://www.lexisnexis.com/resources. The special site, called "Attack on America in Context," provides links to access searches crafted by information professionals at LexisNexis to retrieve full-text information for analysis, including current news, background, developments in the investigation, terrorism legislation, reactions, opinions, press conferences, and speeches.

West Group has mobilized a Crisis Response Team (call 800/408-9378) of research, product, and technical specialists to be available around-the-clock to help clients and friends who practice law in lower Manhattan and Washington, DC. This team of reference attorneys, customer technical support specialists, and sales and account management professionals is helping to provide access to research materials and assistance, re-establish connections, and rebuild networks. When the Westlaw Information Center at 530 5th Avenue in Manhattan is reopened, it will share computers and office space with as many legal professionals as can be accommodated. West will also help with arrangements and provide special discounts to procure and ship replacement print volumes to rebuild libraries.

Factiva has offered temporary free access for journalists to Factiva.com, its online news and business information service, to assist in their research needs.

Our gratitude goes out to the many people who have worked through this difficult week, be they behind the scenes at media organizations, or the many volunteers who came when needed to the disaster sites, or the many who contributed funds to help others. Finally, we extend our deepest sympathy and prayers to those among our readers who have experienced the loss of friends and family.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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