DSS News 
                    D. J. Power, Editor 
              April 24, 2005 -- Vol. 6, No. 10 

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* Ask Dan! - Report from ISCRAM 2005 in Brussels 
* DSS Conferences 
* DSS News Releases 


Ask Dan!

Report from ISCRAM 2005 in Brussels 
by Dan Power

On Friday, April 15, 2005, I journeyed from Cedar Falls to 
Brussels for ISCRAM 2005. The trip was uneventful and I was 
able to engage in some celebrity watching for part of the 
trip.  Larry Hagman (aka J.R. Ewing of the TV Show "Dallas") 
and his wife Maj were flying on the same KLM Cityhopper from 
Amsterdam to Brussels that I was (for more about Larry, check  

There was a steady down pour in Brussels when I arrived and I 
took the train to Central Station and then a taxi to my 
guesthouse-hotel.  The driver had some trouble finding the 
place with all of the winding and one way streets, but I 
arrived safely at Club Fondation Universitaire Stichting 
( in mid-afternoon on 

After checking in, I walked into the main lobby and found 
Professor Murray Turoff (NJIT) sitting just off the lobby at 
a computer checking his email.  The Club Fondation is a 
meeting place for university professors and researchers. It 
includes a large sitting room, 2 small meeting rooms, a 
restaurant and twenty-two guest rooms.  The guest rooms have 
been renovated and the setting had a special "old world" 
elegance. The breakfast was included.  The Club is 
conveniently located near the city centre and it is only 3 
blocks from the conference venue.

Murray and I chatted briefly, I unpacked and then wandered 
the nearby streets to avoid "jet lag" and orient myself. For 
supper I ate at the McDonalds Restaurant a few blocks away 
and around the corner. The Chicken sandwich, fries and Coke 
met my needs and reminded me of the global franchising that 
has occurred.  After watching some television, I went to 
sleep about 9pm.

Sunday morning was dry and sunny.  I met Murray at breakfast 
and we went exploring and antique hunting.  We are both 
collectors and Murray was hunting for interesting human 
artifacts that did some thing useful. He found a silk flower 
press and some other treasures.  I found a few things I 
couldn't resist.  My major purchase was a set of 31 prints by 
an artist named Cieslik. The drawings are World War II scenes 
(probably of Warsaw).  I'm trying to learn more about the 
artist and Google searches are turning up very little.  If 
you have leads about an artist named Cieslik circa 1945, 
please let me know.  His images are strong and even stark in 
the emotions they evoke.

Sunday evening Murray and I walked to the informal 
pre-registration event in the brasserie Mort Subite. About 20 
attendees gathered for talk and light snacks and drinks. 
Bartel Van de Walle, Tilburg University, and Benny Carle, 
Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK-CEN, the ISCRAM program 
chairs led the socializing at Mort Subite. I drank a Kriek 
Cherry Beer or two, chatted with Catherine Campbell, 
Associate Dean at New Jersey Institute of Technology, and 
returned to my hotel at about 8:15pm.  I had a light meal and 
went to bed early so I'd be ready for my Monday morning talk. 
I restrained my partying, but it was a fun time none the 

What is ISCRAM ( ISCRAM is an acronym for 
"Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management". It 
is also an online community of researchers, scholars, 
teachers, students, practitioners and policy makers 
interested or actively involved with a specialized 
Information Systems domain. ISCRAM is an ad hoc group that 
has evolved due to the vision and efforts of Turoff, Van de 
Walle, Carle and many others. ISCRAM 2005 took place at the 
Palace of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science 
and the Arts (, near 
the Royal Palace and the Parliament Building in Brussels. The 
setting was a magnificent blending of the grandeur of the 
early 19th Century with the technologies of the early 21st 
Century.  The 200 year discontinuity showcased how complex 
our world has become, but it reinforced the need for 
reflection, analysis and discourse on important topics like 
using information technology to assist in crisis management 
and response.

On Monday morning April 18, a small group walked from the 
Club to the conference site.  Following registration, coffee 
and a Welcome, John Harrald gave the first key note talk. 
John is the Director of The George Washington University 
Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management, 
Washington, D.C. He briefly discussed the developments in the 
US including the National Response Plan (NRP) and the 
National Incident Management System (NIMS).  He emphasized 
the ability and need to improvise, create, and adapt in the 
face of unforeseen events.

Following a coffee break, I spoke to an audience of about 100 
IS researchers on "DSS for Crisis Planning, Response and 
Management". I tried to keep the talk low key and summarize 
material that has appeared in some Ask Dan! columns on the 
topic. Readers can view my PowerPoint slides at 

and check past DSS News at

I discussed the expanded DSS framework in the context of 8 
diverse categories of crisis, disaster and emergency 
situations: 1) Recurring emergencies for public agencies, 2) 
Sudden natural catastrophic events, 3) Sudden public 
infrastructure catastrophic events, 4) Complex and continuing 
emergencies, 5) Public Health crises, 6) Economic/Political 
crises, 7) Terrorist acts, and 8) Company/organizational 
crises. I had enough material for a much longer talk, but I 
stopped after about an hour for questions.  In retropect, I 
should have shortened the talk to make sure I could cover 
some of the conclusions covered on the last 10 slides.  My 
message was and is that we have much to do to develop 
appropriate DSS for the diverse crisis situations that will 
be encountered. Please check my slide titled "A Path in the 
Wilderness" and read through my 3 conclusion slides. 

Following lunch, there were 2 parallel tracks for the 
afternoon. As always, I had to pick from among a number of 
potentially interesting presentations.  The conference 
proceedings includes 49 papers and all of them should 
eventually be accessible to registered ISCRAM community 
members at

I listened to the four presentations in the Information 
Systems Design track.  The presentations were short, but 
interesting.  I can't mention every presentation, but let me 
note Catherine Campbell's talk on using asynchronous 
collaboration software for determining software requirements 
for an Emergency Response Information System.  She reported 
favorable results from such an approach. Steve Hannestad, 
Director of Research, Center for Information Policy, College 
of Library and Information Sciences, University of Maryland, 
expanded my perspective on the Incident Command System. Steve 
is pursuing a new career. For almost 10 years until he 
retired, Steve was Director of Security for the US National 

At 3:15pm (15:15), the Knowledge Management track was on my 
agenda. Another 4 presentations, in rapid succession had me 
near information overload. Then a round table plenary session 
slowed the pace and gave us more relaxed conversation and 
discussion. The topic was "Public Security: The Role of 
Information Systems". We had drinks and conversation from 
18:00-19:00. Then the students in attendance participated in 
an "Evening of the Phd's". I was tired, a bit jet lagged and 
ready for some sleep.  After a quick meal at Quick Burger, an 
alternative to McDonald's, I went back to the Club. Quick 
Burger is supposedly 50% cheaper than McDonald's with better 
food.  Not in Brussels! The cost was about the same  and 
definitely not as tasty.
Tuesday, April 19 started with a talk by Liz Carver (BAE 
Systems, UK) on "Human Factors in Crisis Management". Liz had 
a lot of energy and got the group interested in her topic. 

Following a coffee break, I participated in a 
computer-supported meeting using GroupSystems conducted by 
staff from About 15 of us provided ideas 
related to ISCRAM. I also checked the poster session. 

Following lunch, I listened to presentations in the Decision 
Support Systems track and then in the Training and Gaming 
Systems track. I returned to the Club at about 4:30 pm 
(16:30) to get ready for the conference dinner at La Vierge 
Noire (
Navigating the streets of downtown Brussels was a challenge, 
but with some help from new found friends I arrived on time 
at La Vierge Noire (The Black Virgin). The art d├ęco setting 
and modern cuisine was a contrast from McDonald's and Quick 

Our group of 97 filled La Vierge Noire. My table 
companions were Gary Eipried (he proofed the wine), Mark 
Taylor of Mitre who also helped guide me to the restaurant, 
John Park, Steve Hannestad and Murray Jennex. Murray Jennex 
edits the International Journal of Knowledge Management.  One 
really has time for conversation during a four course French 
style meal with wine -- the six of us regaled each other with 
stories and talked DSS. Our meal started with an asparagus 
and shrimps turret followed by fried goose liver (foie gras) 
with passion fruits.  The main course was roasted lamb fillet 
with seasonal vegetables. The dessert was hot pear pie with 
ginger.  The wines were Chateau les Valentines Bergerac white 
and a red. A great meal and good conversation capped my stay 
in Brussels and the ISCRAM 2005 meeting. 

On Wednesday, April 20, ISCRAM hosted 2 parallel activities, 
an Early Warning Systems Special Symposium and the European 
Seminar on Transparent and Traceable Decision Making in 
Off-site Nuclear Emergencies.  I couldn't stay for either of 
those day long activities.  Following breakfast, I walked to 
the Central Station and rode the train to the airport for a 
Noon flight.  When I arrived in Amsterdam, I found my flight 
to the U.S. cancelled with mechanical problems.  The KLM 
staff offered me hotel accomodations, but eventually they got 
me on a plane to Detroit and I finally arrived back in Cedar 
Falls, Iowa at 11:20 pm US Central time.  After the travails 
of the trip, it was nice to return home. The next day I 
taught my classes at the University of Northern Iowa.  Some 
of my students were surprised that I didn't accept the KLM 
offer to spend a day in Amsterdam.  Oh well, at this point in 
the semester, it is hard to spend time traveling to attend 
conferences and there is definitely no time for a stay in 

ISCRAM 2005 was a great conference.  Let me express my thanks 
to Prof. Murray Turoff (New Jersey Institute for Technology) 
for securing funding for my air fare and registration and to 
the ISCRAM conference organizers and sponsors for providing 
my housing at the Club Fondation.  Many thanks to Murray, 
Bartel and Benny. ISCRAM 2006 will be held at New Jersey 
Institute for Technology.  I hope to see my ISCRAM DSS 
friends at that venue.


           May 22-26, 2005, Orlando, Florida USA. 


DSS Conferences 

Upcoming Conferences 

1. DAMA+Metadata -- 9TH Annual Wilshire Meta-Data Conference 
and the 17TH Annual DAMA International Symposium, May 22-26, 2005, 
Orlando, Florida USA. Check . 
DSSResources.COM and DSS News are Media Sponsors of DAMA+Metadata. 

2. 2005 Crystal Ball User Conference will be held June 13-15, 
2005 at the Marriott Denver City Center, Denver, Colorado, 
check .

3. Eighth International Conference on Decision Support 
Systems (ISDSS'05),Trends in DSS Research and Practice, sponsored 
by AIS SIG DSS, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 
July 12-15, 2005. Check .

4. AMCIS 2005 with SIG DSS mini-tracks in Omaha, Nebraska, 
USA, August 11 - 14, 2005. Check .

5. 2005 NPRA Plant Automation and Decision Support 
Conference, October 18-21, 2005, Gaylord Texan Hotel, 
Grapevine, Texas.  Check .


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DSS News Releases - April 11, 2005 - April 22, 2005
Read them at DSSResources.COM and search the DSS News Archive 

04/21/2005 U.S. first responder funding reform clears 
committee; headed for floor.

04/20/2005 Experian establishes the world's most 
comprehensive consumer classification system.

04/20/2005 University of Michigan Medical School pioneers 
interactive data analysis with Xcelsius; selects Xcelsius for 
innovative Web-based dashboard tool for medical school 

04/20/2005, Inc. selects Teradata for 
enterprise data warehouse, customer analytics and single view 
of the business. 

04/20/2005 Corporate Express signs new deal with 

04/19/2005 Sears honors Applied Intelligence Solutions with 
three vendor awards.

04/18/2005 Open Solutions debuts Interaction Management 
Center (IMC); software suite links business intelligence and 
transactional applications in to one integrated, interactive 
environment for frontline staff.

04/18/2005 Intergraph executive, Preetha Pulusani, to speak 
at joint GSDI-8 and FIG working week 2005 conference. 

04/18/2005 Greenplum unveils The Bizgres Project; new open 
source work project dedicated to making PostgreSQL the 
strongest open source database platform for business 

04/18/2005 MySQL and Business Objects announce partnership; 
companies form business and technology alliance to integrate 
the MySQL open source database and the BusinessObjects XI 
business intelligence platform.

04/18/2005 ISCRAM 2005 starts today in Brussels.

04/16/2005 Evidence-based capabilities of AtStaff Advantage, 
healthcare's newest, most advanced staff management software 
draw positive marketplace response among patient care 

04/15/2005 Communications: key weapon in battling terrorism.

04/14/2005 TransUnion announces new debt management scoring 
model for industry, consumers; score delivers benefits to all 
- complements new bankruptcy law.

04/13/2005 Interactive dashboards critical to performance 
visibility according to Hyperion survey.

04/13/2005 DataWorks Systems introduces Incuity EMI product 
that unites disparate data sources for enhanced 

04/13/2005 Bull market for GPS Fleet Management Systems.

04/12/2005 Schwab selects Teradata® Data Warehouse technology 
to enhance customer service and reduce IT complexity. 

04/12/2005 Environmental Tectonics Corporation completes 
third virtual training at BWI Airport; simulation prepares 
first responders for mass casualty emergencies.

04/12/2005 TNT Logistics to enhance supply chain operations 
with labor management and slotting optimization from 
Manhattan Associates.

04/12/2005 Pfizer taps Send Word Now for emergency 
notification to keep employees informed and safe.

04/11/2005 Lockheed Martin opens Center for Innovation as new 
laboratory for transformation.


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