Emory Report

 September 2, 1997

 Volume 50, No. 2

Technology Update:

Electronic scheduling at
Emory using MeetingMaker

Despite rapidly evolving technologies and organizational structures, the benefits of collaborative, face-to-face work remain constant. Arranging meeting times, places, and agendas has never been quick or easy. According to Groupware, Technology and Applications, a 1995 study written by David Coleman, editor for Virtual Workgroups magazine:

It used to be that secretaries spent hours on the phone conferring and negotiating available dates and times, moving around less important meetings, and sending out typewritten agendas.

Today, while the number of meetings may not be decreasing, arranging them is easier with electronic calendars. These products enable any user with the software and access to a server to schedule meetings among different groups and individuals, across a variety of different computer platforms. Most products offer features that can be triggered through a simple point and click format.

ITD reviewed a number of calendar products that could meet Emory's needs and chose MeetingMaker XP because it was considered best overall in format and file structure. MeetingMaker is a true client-server product in that the server provides the basic calendar and communication support, while personal information remains at the individual desktop level. The administration overhead and subsequent support requirements for MeetingMaker were considerably lighter than other products.

MeetingMaker sends scheduling messages independently from existing e-mail programs, enabling the user to choose a preferred e-mail program. The client-server environment means that even the MeetingMaker application itself can be changed or modified without affecting other campuswide services. The MeetingMaker product offers additional features such as creating "to-do" lists, assigning priorities and including others on the list. And if you are wondering what will happen to the calendar after Dec. 31, 1999-MeetingMaker is Year 2000 compliant, which means you can make appointments and schedule meetings into the next millennium.

Evaluation of electronic calendars began in spring 1994, and today ITD supports active accounts for faculty and staff at Emory, Oxford and Emory Hospital.

For more information about MeetingMaker at Emory, visit: http://www.cc.emory.edu/ITD/MMXP/.

The MeetingMaker product site is at http://www.on.com/mmxp/.

Linda Erhard works in Administrative Services for Information Technology Division.

Return to September 2, 1997 Contents Page