By Jamie Vinson/Editor

Up-to-date information about events in Iraq is now just a few clicks away for Eastern students, faculty and staff. The university’s geography department now has a link on its Web site that directs users to the “Iraq News and Resources Page.”The page, www.geography.eku.edu/Iraq/Iraq.htm, offers numerous links to news sources like CNN, New York Times, MSNBC and USA Today, as well as links to international sources and those that may provide alternative views. Those who access the page also will find basic information on Iraq, interactive maps, et cetera.

“As geographers, we are intimately involved with the world’s condition in a wide range of regards,” said Bruce Davis, chairman of the geography department, who developed the page. “As such, we must stay abreast of events much more deeply than what is offered on the nightly 10-minute newscast, so a Web page with other sources of information is an essential tool for the entire EKU community.”

Davis said his first instinct was to offer an in-house site for maps, but it soon occurred to him that more was needed.

“Having watched the various networks present conflicting information and perspectives, I knew that a diversity of resources would be the only format for our educational community that seeks input from a wide spectrum of thinking,” Davis said. “Thus, I searched for a wide array of news and information sites. Since then, several kind EKU folks have offered additional Web sites, which I am happy to include.”

Davis said the site not only offers the daily news, but opinions and summaries as well.

“Sources were needed to describe and explain Iraq not necessarily as an ‘enemy camp,’ but as a nation of humans trying to live life in the way that they know,” he commented. “We need to understand other cultures and places if we are to understand ourselves and what we do.”

In terms of information found on the page, Davis said he hopes users “examine this very important set of events with a critical eye.”

“We understand that a single perspective is never a complete one, particularly for such complicated issues as international war, so I hope that everyone, especially students, will browse the variety of sites to help them in critical thinking and to make independent decisions,” he noted.

As for reactions to the page thus far, Davis said he has received all positive feedback, adding feedback has even been positive from those who suggested he should add additional sites.

“The input has been greatly appreciated,” he said. “Also, a number of courses are using it as part of assignments to examine the war or world politics. I am gratified that it can be used that way.”

Davis encourages contributions, but asks that contributors offer something in addition to the links currently listed on the page.

“I am adding to it a little as the contributions come in, but I did not intend for it to be an encyclopedia of information on Iraq or the war, only a set of selected sites that may be useful for general breadth or for classes to use as a resource,” he said. “There’s only so many sites or pages a reader can handle. However, one can never tell — as the issues become more complicated and extensive, perhaps the page will evolve into a Web site with other pages … I remain open.”

Davis said the page will remain available to the Eastern community as long as needed.

“Almost certainly beyond the war as we move into the more difficult task and commitment of ‘winning the peace,’” he said. “I suspect Iraq will be on our national radar for some time,” adding he will remain informed and update the page as sources unfold.

The geography department’s main site, which includes the link to the page Davis developed, can be accessed at www.geography.eku.edu.