September 11 Digital Archive

Andy Carvin


Andy Carvin


My name is Andy Carvin, and I'm senior associate at the Benton Foundation in Washington DC. On the morning of Sept 11, after evacuating our downtown DC offices (see attached email below), I created an email discussion group called SEPT11INFO so people could discuss the attacks and share information with each other. Many news websites, it seemed, slowed to a crawl because of increased traffic that morning, but email continued to function well, so creating a listserv seemed the best way to help out that day. Within the first 12 hours of the list's discussion, 1500 people joined the group, sending over 600 messages that day - the most intense use of a listserv I've ever seen in my eight years as a list moderator.
In the days and weeks following the attack, SEPT11INFO served as an online forum for debate, as well as a resource for sharing of news, personal stories, volunteer opportunities, pleas for assistance, and in some emotional cases, expressions of fear, rage and hate.
I've preserved the archive of the entire discussion, if you are interested in using it in any way. The archive can be found here:
I'm a little worried that my archive host, Yahoogroups, may eventually erase my archive, since their business is based on advertising revenue -- and since our list has wrapped up discussion, they may see no financial benefit in preserving it. Just in case, I've saved a copy of the entire discussion - all 3000+ messages - as a giant text file, which I can email to you if you'd like. I'm currently working with Professor James Danowski of the U. of Illinois/Chicago's school of communications to perform a content analysis of the discussion, in the hope of identifying trends and patterns in the discussion that might be of interest to scholars.

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