Empowering the Public with Information in Crisis

Project EPIC at the University of Colorado Boulder

LATEST NEWS: Our study of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 quickly transformed us into accidental disinformation researchers. We report on the results of our unexpected foray into disinformation in our new blog, A Post Mortem of @realDonaldTrump, which discusses the information science behind this account——data journalism-style (Leysia Palen & Jennings Anderson, leads).


Project EPIC was established in 2009 at the University of Colorado Boulder by Leysia Palen and Kenneth M Anderson with funding from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research in crisis informatics. Its predecessor lab—Connectivity—had forged the way in this fledgling research area at Boulder after an initial 2006 NSF CAREER grant award to Palen on Data in Disaster.

The University of Colorado Boulder effort focuses primarily on what role social media, data and other tech environments play in natural hazards. We have long been a multi-disciplinary effort, with collaborators coming from across computing, information, the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities to produce multiple authored publications and resources.


"Crisis informatics examines how networked digital technology—particularly the social media-featured technologies of the 2000s and beyond—interacts with disaster management, with consideration of this interaction from a social science sensibility, which accounts for such disciplines as sociology, geography, anthropology, linguistics, psychology, and more. The expansion to include human systems in the consideration of technology use is what makes crisis informatics a field of research that includes computer science—especially in terms of some of its data science techniques—but whose questions do not alone stem from it."

--The Crisis Informatics Annotated Bibliography assembled by the international community of Crisis Informatics researchers in the beginning of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic.

In 2020, at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Project EPIC spearheaded an international crisis informatics community effort to quickly collate the many publications our growing subdiscipline has produced, and to present it in a form that would be accessible to researchers and practioners who were seeking academic insight about collaborative information technology and crisis events. This crisis informatics annotated bibliography is freely available to all and features both EPIC publications and publications from our colleagues around the world.