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The Intranet Information Center at MSH
Laurian Carroll, Presenter 
By Diane Rubino

Laurian 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 slides.

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Last updated 04/25/01