24 February 2014

Supporting Forced Migration Online

I visited Forced Migration Online (FMO) today and found the following notice:

Forced Migration Online is currently under review and the content on this website is no longer being updated. We recognize that FMO is a valuable resource for our many users and we are looking for funding opportunities to enable us to continue its development. If you would like to contribute to this process by providing feedback, please email fmo@qeh.ox.ac.uk.

If you have benefited from FMO's resources in the past, I would like to encourage you to take up the offer to provide feedback.  Currently, FMO doesn't have the requisite human resources in place to really sustain it. Yet, managing and maintaining information projects over time is labor-intensive and requires both staff who are technical and who are knowledgeable about content. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get sufficient financial support for the people needed to run these projects.

Here are some of the things I value about FMO:
- It provides access to a wide variety of curated materials and caters to a range of information-seekers.
- It ensures stable, long-term access to this variety of materials.
- It was one of the first online resources whose scope extended to all types of forced displacement, not just conflict-related.
- It promotes Open Access (OA); the documents in the Digital Library have been copyright-cleared, while other items have a CC-license attached to them.

And here are some specific examples of how FMO supports the work I do:
- My forced migration research guide links to a number of documents in the digital library;
- I've selected photos from FMO's photograph directory to grace many of the resources I've developed (including the one on this blog!);
- Over the years, I've referred many users who are new to a specific topic to FMO thematic and geographic research guides;
- I've regularly referenced FMO podcasts in blog posts;
- I've dug up older articles that I needed to read in the back issues of FMO's journal collection.

FMO has a flexible structure in place that can accommodate much more content and support additional types of resources.  Its full potential has definitely not yet been reached!  Please take a few moments to indicate your support for FMO!

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