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Jyoti Laxmi Mishra, David K. Allen, & Alan D. Pearman. (2011). Activity Theory as a methodological and analytical framework for information practices in Emergency Management. In E. Portela L. S. M.A. Santos (Ed.), 8th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management: From Early-Warning Systems to Preparedness and Training, ISCRAM 2011. Lisbon: Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM.
Abstract: Emergency situations are chaotic in nature. It is however, necessary to understand the context in which Emergency Responders work such that information practice issues can be highlighted and addressed by the system designers. In this paper, Activity Theory is proposed as a methodological and analytical framework to study information practices in the context of Emergency Management. Activity Theory aids in achieving a holistic approach to understanding the work activities context unlike some other analytical methodologies, as it focuses on use of artifacts for the interaction of humans with their environment. In this paper, an activity system model is used to investigate information practice issues of response phase of the emergency services in the UK. Using Activity Theory as an analytical framework, several tensions and contradictions emerged which keep the system unstable but which are also a source of innovation. It is also argued that Activity Theory can usefully be applied to the analysis of information practices over short period of time.