News from the Information Service

Earthquake Information Available on the Web

by Dorothy Tao

What causes earthquakes? What are seismic waves? Do earthquakes occur in New York State? What is liquefaction? Can we predict earthquakes? Have there been any earthquakes in Western New York? Can I search for earthquakes by latitude and longitude? What are the basics of earthquake resistant design? Answers to these frequently-asked questions and more have been mounted in an electronic packet on NCEER's web site: Included in the answers to these frequently-asked questions (FAQs) are maps, diagrams, photographs, links to other pertinent sites, and searchable databases. The NCEER Information Service created this electronic packet of FAQs about earthquakes, with an emphasis on New York State, on the web to enhance access to earthquake information for users in both the state and in other communities across the nation. These users will be able to search for specific materials on earthquakes, locate them in one place, print, or download information directly without an intermediary.

This "electronic packet" of earthquake information was one of seven Electronic Doorway Library Service Demonstration Projects recently funded by the New York State Library, Division of Library Development. The purpose of the demonstration grants is to show how libraries can use new technologies and advanced telecommunications techniques to improve the public's access to information and to help people gather and use many different types of information. The earthquake information electronic packet will help NCEER respond more efficiently to the most frequently-asked questions of two user groups: secondary school students and teachers who must meet the standards of the New York State science curriculum, and practicing engineers in New York State.

Workshops to introduce the electronic earthquake information packet to these groups were held June 4 and June 30, 1997 at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Hands-on training in searching the internet was provided and feedback was solicited from those in attendance. The feedback will be used to improve the packet and provide guidance for future projects. A subsequent teacher workshop, which will include internet-based activities, will be held in Fall, 1997.

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