In January 2021, the UW–Madison Policy Library launched as a repository for nearly 900 policies that are university-wide in scope, bringing policies together in one place so users can quickly locate the most accurate, up-to-date version of a policy. It has quickly become a valuable resource. In its first year, the site was visited more than half a million times.
Last week, the university Policy Library grew modestly: it now houses the 36 official policies of the School of Medicine and Public Health.
Previously, school-level policy documents were maintained as a collection of PDF files housed on Box and disseminated using the SMPH Intranet. That format presented challenges for content management, accessibility, and searchability. Now, all SMPH policies conform to the university’s standard format and exist in the same database as university-wide policies. Although our school was the first to migrate content to the Policy Library as a pilot project, other schools and colleges are anticipated to follow suit.
You can now navigate to SMPH policies by two methods:
- On the SMPH Intranet, click “Policies” on the top right navigation menu or visit go.wisc.edu/smphpolicies. This will bring you to a page with a table that includes links to school policy content. The table is kept up-to-date automatically. It draws from the Policy Library database as a “single source of truth” – a concept from the field of information science that means information is aggregated within an organization to a single location.
- You can also visit the UW–Madison Policy Library website directly. When you search for policies on that site, chose between “Include all policies” (which is the default option) or select university-level policies and/or SMPH policies, as shown.
If your unit’s website links directly to the now-outdated Box files, please update your links to ensure that users go to the most current version of policies, and to avoid confusion. We would greatly appreciate it if these updates could be made in the next few weeks. In the meantime, if users visit the old Box links, they will find a notification that the content has moved.
The Policy Library offers other helpful resources to inform policy development, such as institution-wide guiding principles to consider when developing policies and examples of the differences between a policy, a procedure, and a guideline.
This initiative to migrate SMPH policy content into the university Policy Library was achieved through collaboration during the 2021-22 academic year between a working group from the school’s Policy Development and Review Committee and the Policy Library team and members of the UW–Madison Office of Strategic Consulting. Policy managers and contacts also aided with preparation for migration and quality control checks. We are grateful to all who made this effort successful.