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Discovery DiscoveryOctober 2001

Main Page In Focus On the Web Featured Stories

On the Web National Emergency Information

by Jan Zauha

The past several weeks have tragically proven what a valuable news resource the Web is. Newspaper sites worldwide saw an increase in Web traffic during and after the events of September 11. Network news sites served up the latest information for the convenience of citizens leading the double lives of the shell-shocked. Now as we try to make sense of these atrocities, understand the players on a new world stage, and sort out our private and national responses, the Web continues to offer valuable resources.

Close to home the Montana Emergency Response Information provides numbers for Montana-area Red Cross districts and links to other state government departments with useful emergency information, such as Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) of Montana.

For national emergency perspectives, the American Red Cross monitors the progress of relief efforts, solicits contributions, and offers disaster counseling materials. More extensive counseling materials can be found at the Trauma Information Pages of psychologist David Baldwin. The APA's "Managing Traumatic Stress" also offers help. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers FEMA for Kids to help translate terrorist actions and other disasters into language children can better understand.

Reports of charity scams began coming in literally before the smoke cleared in NYC. FirstGov provides forms for reporting scams and fraud, as well as a checklist for determining charity validity. More scam information is available at sites like and ScamBusters.

To learn more about the U.S. military response, visit the Department of Defense for links to all branches of the armed forces. NATO provides the text of the North Atlantic Treaty, including Article 5. The State Department NATO fact sheet succinctly describes the history, structure, and strategies of the organization.

As issues of national security and personal freedom escalate, see the American Civil Liberties Union for discussions of the impact of security measures on civil liberties. The Anti-Defamation League's site reports on the reactions of various groups to the terrorist strikes, from the American Muslim Association of North America to the Michigan Militia.

To take a break from the news, visit "American Treasures of the Library of Congress", an exhibit of uniquely American digital images like Thomas Jefferson's library and other artifacts of democracy. For images and texts of seminal national documents like the Bill of Rights, see NARA's exhibit hall. A touching look at the loss of a national monument is offered at "New York's World Trade Center: A Living Archive".

Sadly, information on terrorism is destined to mushroom on the Web. To keep abreast visit some of the indexes mounted by libraries in response to September 11 -- Vanderbilt University, SUNY Buffalo, and the University of Richmond provide excellent compilations of Web resources on this horrific topic.

For help locating more information, in print or online, call or stop in at the Renne Library reference desk. If you find Web sites that you think might be of interest to the MSU community, please send me an e-mail message at

Jan Zauha is the reference team leader at the MSU Libraries.



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