Access to data

The Mission 4636 text messages and a copy of the chat-log used to coordinate the initiative are available for researchers.

The Mission 4636 messages are private messages send from individuals to response efforts, so they are anonymized. The initiative was coordinated by an open ‘IRC’ online chat, but because of the sensitive nature of some of the content we consider the chat transcript to also be private.

All the messages, chat logs, and other material, including the content of this website, are Copyright Mission 4636 and cannot be reproduced without our permission. Having said that, we would like researchers to be able to learn from our experiences to better prepare for future disasters.

If you would like a copy of the text message corpus, please sent an email to:

And include the following information:

Principle Investigator

Name of Institution

Nature of the Study

Because of the sensitive nature of the data, and that we don’t have the resources to perform a review of all proposals ourselves, we are releasing the data to people who work at institutions that have IRB (Internal Review Board) approval. For people who are not at an institution that has an IRB or ethics review committee, we suggest hiring an independent review board.

Mission 4636 will rely mainly on whether your IRB board has approved the study when we decide to release a copy of the data, but we might ask to see their decision.

Anonymization criteria

We have anonymized the data, with thanks to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Microsoft Research and Stanford University. The messages are stripped of the following:

  1. Names of individuals
  2. Phone numbers of individuals
  3. Other personally identifying information like titles (eg: ‘Mayor of Paris’).
  4. Missing Person Information (in accordance with Red Cross guidelines).
  5. All information regarding minors.

If you find any of this information in the data, please omit that entire message/exchange from your study and let us know at the email address above.

Other information about Mission 4636:

All other information about Mission 4636 is released under Creative Commons Attribution license, except where otherwise noted.

In other words, you may reproduce any information from this website and use it how you choose, provided that you attribute the source to Mission 4636:

Mission 4636 (

Update: You can now also reference our report:

Munro, Robert, 2013. Crowdsourcing and Crisis Affected Community. Journal of Information Retreival, 16(2), Springer
(This is the preferred reference for academic papers.)

Exceptions to creative commons attribution license.

All private conversations about Mission 4636 are the copyright of their senders and cannot be reproduced or distributed without their permission. This includes emails, personal text messages, skype conversations (chat or phone), and IRC chat messages marked ‘\prvt’. We ask that people are respectful of communications that people made during a stressful period, knowing that many Mission 4636 members have lost friends and family.

Publishing information about Mission 4636

For any publication (research, media, blog, etc) we ask that authors respect the following criteria:

  1. Do not publish the names of people.
  2. Do not publish personal phone numbers.
  3. Do not publish information about minors.
  4. Do not publish street addresses.
  5. Make it clear Mission 4636 is a majority Haitian initiate.
  6. Refer to the collective effort as “Mission 4636”, not one of the constituent organizations.
  7. When highlighting the role of individual organizations, do not introduce a racial bias by ignoring 5 or 6 or otherwise.
  8. If you receive notice for having potentially broken one of these conditions, please remove all material from websites or other public-facing locations until the matter is resolved.
  9. If you believe that you do not need to follow our requests because of independent advice or counsel: please remove all material from websites, etc. until the matter is resolved (as in 8). These guidelines are to protect the dignity as well as the privacy of individuals. Email your advice/counsel to – we will review and publish this advice, and obtain our own legal advice at our expense (although donations to cover this cost are welcome).
  10. Maintain the dignity of the crisis-affected population. Beyond the specific criteria above, do not publish information that marginalizes or discredits the crisis-affected population’s contribution to the response efforts, or could cause emotional stress if reproduced.

Cease and Desist: For continued violations of all ten conditions, we ask that National Geographic and reporter Patrick Meier please cease publishing about Mission 4636 and remove all sensitive articles from their websites, especially those with the names and phone numbers of people identifying as school children. We ask National Geographic and reporter Patrick Meier to cease all further articles, presentations or other publicity about the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti.

We ask that all other people keep traffic to the National Geographic articles to a minimum. Do not link to their articles or share them in open media, as this will increase the people who can see the sensitive information that they have posted, including the phone numbers of school girls.

Thank you,

Mission 4636 team


March 2010 (updated October 2010, June 2012)