Yes, I’m Writing a Book (on Digital Humanitarians)

I recently signed a book deal with Taylor & Francis Press. The book, which is tentatively titled “Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data is Changing the Face of Disaster Response,” is slated to be published next year. The book will chart the rise of digital humanitarian response from the Haiti Earthquake to 2015, highlighting critical lessons learned and best practices. To this end, the book will draw on real-world examples of digital humanitarians in action to explain how they use new technologies and crowdsourcing to make sense of “Big (Crisis) Data”. In sum, the book will describe how digital humanitarians & humanitarian technologies are together reshaping the humanitarian space and what this means for the future of disaster response. The purpose of this book is to inspire and inform the next generation of (digital) humanitarians while serving as a guide for established humanitarian organizations & emergency management professionals who wish to take advantage of this transformation in humanitarian response.


The book will thus consolidate critical lessons learned in digital humanitarian response (such as the verification of social media during crises) so that members of the public along with professionals in both international humanitarian response and domestic emergency management can improve their own relief efforts in the face of “Big Data” and rapidly evolving technologies. The book will also be of interest to academics and students who wish to better understand methodological issues around the use of social media and user-generated content for disaster response; or how technology is transforming collective action and how “Big Data” is disrupting humanitarian institutions, for example. Finally, this book will also speak to those who want to make a difference; to those who of you who may have little to no experience in humanitarian response but who still wish to help others affected during disasters—even if you happen to be thousands of miles away. You are the next wave of digital humanitarians and this book will explain how you can indeed make a difference.

The book will not be written in a technical or academic writing style. Instead, I’ll be using a more “storytelling” form of writing combined with a conversational tone. This approach is perfectly compatible with the clear documentation of critical lessons emerging from the rapidly evolving digital humanitarian space. This conversational writing style is not at odds with the need to explain the more technical insights being applied to develop next generation humanitarian technologies. Quite on the contrary, I’ll be using intuitive examples & metaphors to make the most technical details not only understandable but entertaining.

While this journey is just beginning, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to my mentors for their invaluable feedback on my book proposal. I’d also like to express my deep gratitude to my point of contact at Taylor & Francis Press for championing this book from the get-go. Last but certainly not least, I’d like to sincerely thank the Rockefeller Foundation for providing me with a residency fellowship this Spring in order to accelerate my writing.

I’ll be sure to provide an update when the publication date has been set. In the meantime, many thanks for being an iRevolution reader!


10 responses to “Yes, I’m Writing a Book (on Digital Humanitarians)

  1. Great Patrick.

    I am glad that “The book will not be written in a technical or academic writing style …etc.” Our jargon has prevented many non-technical decision makers and others from benefiting from invaluable work.

    Best wishes and regards.

  2. Excellent news! Best of luck with it.

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Patrick, this is fantastic news! I’m excited that you will do this and am available to support in any way possible


  4. This book is going to be so incredible!! I can’t wait to read all the things you have to share. Major Congratulations!! Let me know if I can help. 🙂

  5. Congrats Patrick! We are cheering you back here in Liberia and wishing you all the best! Best of lucks with books and I’m sure it will be a useful to Humanitarians, CrisisMappers and others around the globe. Please feel free to hit us up if you need any help from our end.

  6. Congratulations! We’ll be waiting for it!

  7. Congrats Patrick! Keep up the great work!

  8. That’s awesome! Already can’t wait to read it!

  9. Pingback: Results of the Crowdsourced Search for Malaysia Flight 370 | iRevolution

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