Caroll was on hand to give a fascinating presentation as part of Tuesday
afternoon’s New Media panel. Laurian discussed her role in the
development of Management Sciences for Health’s (MSH) Intranet. She
began with a brief description of the organization, which has been working
with decision makers internationally to improve the management of critical
health services since 1971. MSH communications problems mirror those that
many of us share. It is often difficult to know what your colleagues down
the hall are working on, but this issue become substantially magnified
when staff is spread out in 2 domestic and 19 international offices. To
surmount this problem, MSH created an Intranet.
Initially, the staff didn’t use it much, for a variety of reasons
including the lack of technical skills or time, access problems, and plain
old disinterest. The latter often stemmed from the instrument itself,
which lacked a cohesive, organized structure within which staff could get
what they wanted. When Laurian joined MSH, she began a restructuring of
the Intranet to increase communication, use of internal resources,
research capacity, and access to information. Among other tasks, the
revamping also included an addition of a database for resource materials.
She wanted to create specialized virtual collections with direct links to
subject-oriented materials, tools, databases, and full text documents.
When seeking the appropriate software, Laurian looked for a system which
would be text-based, keyword searchable, simple to administer, have
full-text documents, and would be scaleable for inevitable future growth.
Even with a newly designed site in place, Laurian understood that her
assignment was not yet complete. She developed a "marketing
plan" to alert colleagues to the many benefits of the revised
Intranet. Displaying true Madison Avenue savvy, Laurian offered tours and
parties to colleagues to promote this tool, which is a significant
resource for staff, providing time-saving and research-enhancing
information and generally easing their work burden.
Click here to view Laurian's
slides. (Each slide is about 300,000 bytes in size and can take some time
to view.) There are a total of 11 slides. They are also accessible as text