Tony Hoagland is a poet. He wrote (in the September 2010 issue of Poetry):
...our economic culture specializes in two things: surfeit and counterfeit. The lack of relative scale between the component parts of our existence, the swamp of excess information in which we each day swim, and our paradoxical lack of influence on that world — they make us ill. We have communication sickness. Add to that our drastically increased sense of corruption of commercial and political speech, and the instability of language — surely our resulting collective dizziness is a fundamental symptom of modern life.”
Greta Marlatt is a reference librarian at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Dudley Knox Library. She specializes in national security, homeland security, and intelligence issues.
Part of her mission (along with her colleagues in the Homeland Security Digital Library) is to help cure the communication sickness Hoagland describes – at least when it comes to homeland security.
Ms. Marlatt’s talent is the ability to “calibrate the relative scale” of what’s valuable in the myriad homeland security-related reports produced — like freeway exhaust — daily. She tempers the surfeit and junks the counterfeit. She has somehow figured out how to transcend the “collective dizziness” cajoled by homeland security’s information perfume.
Cutting through the purple, Ms. Marlatt has the most far reaching search strategy of anyone I know in homeland security.
Here are some of Greta’s gems — by which I mean documents about issues I’m actively interested in that I probably would not have found because I did not know they existed before Greta told me. (Information about how to get your own copy of greta’s gems is at the end of this post.)
Air University Strategic Studies Quarterly, Fall 2010, v. 4, no. 3 http://www.au.af.mil/au/ssq/fall10.asp
- How Terrorist Groups End: Studies of the Twentieth Century
- Cyber Deterrence: Tougher in Theory than in Practice?
American Red Cross
- Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/other/SocialMediaSlideDeck.pdf
American Security Project
- Climate Change and Immigration: Warnings for America’s Southern Border http://www.americansecurityproject.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Climate-Change-and-Immigration-FINAL.pdf
- Seven Myths That Cloud Immigration Debate http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0901_immigration_west.aspx
Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)
- Birthright Citizenship in the United States: A Global Comparison http://www.cis.org/articles/2010/birthright.pdf
Child Welfare Information Gateway
- The Role of First Responders in Child Maltreatment Cases: Disaster and Nondisaster Situations http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/first_responders/firstresponders.pdf
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- A Correctional Institution’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/correctional_institution_guide.pdf
- An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/education_guide.pdf
- An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/employment_guide.pdf
- A Health Care Provider’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/health_care_guide.pdf
- Law Enforcement Official’s Guide to The Muslim Community http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/law_enforcement_guide.pdf
- Teachable Moment Community Response Guide: Guidance for Local Communities to Respond to Challenges & Opposition [Ramadan 2010] http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/2010Communitytoolkit.pdf
Council on Foreign Relations
- Internet Governance in an Age of Cyber Insecurity http://www.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/Cybersecurity_CSR56.pdf
Department of State
- Fact Sheets: Foreign Terrorist Organization Designation http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/09/146554.htm
- Returning More Power to the States Is the Natural Evolution in Homeland Security http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2010/pdf/wm2993.pdf
Institute for Business and Home Safety
- Five Years Later – Are We Better Prepared? http://disastersafety.org/resource/resmgr/PDFs/HUR_081710_katrina-anniversa.pdf
National Guard Bureau
- The National Guard: A Great Value for America http://www.ng.mil/Images1/docs/Value_of_the_National_Guard.pdf
Pew Hispanic Center
- U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Flows Are Down Sharply Since Mid-Decade http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/126.pdf
Small Wars Journal
- “Bring It On” Worked http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/522-vandevelde.pdf
Unity Abandoned Buildings Outreach Team
- Search and Rescue Five Years Later: Saving People Still Trapped in Katrina’s Ruins http://unitygno.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/UNITY_AB-Report_August2010.pdf
US Institute of Peace (USIP)
- Blogs and Bullets: New Media in Contentious Politics http://www.usip.org/files/resources/pw65.pdf
There may be other people like Greta and her colleagues in the homeland security enterprise. I will think wistfully for a moment about what the enterprise would be like if those information gurus — wherever they are – had the chance to systematically attack what William James might call the “blooming, buzzing confusion” of homeland security’s information swamp.
The “gretalinks” blog can be found here. You can also ask to be added to her weekly email by sending your request to “gretaslinks [at] gmail.com” remembering, of course, to substitute the “@” for “[at].”
Wistful moment is over. Now back to actually reading what she provided.