Health Information and Publications Network (HIPNET) HIPNet January 26th 2005 Meeting Notes


2004 Achievements
We started the meeting by listing HIPNet’s achievements in 2004:

  1. We linked with London based group INASP
  2. We compiled a combined list of medical libraries (2,500)
  3. We made some significant strides in publication collaboration especially on the topic of FP/HIV/AIDS integration
  4. We finalized our new name and mission statement
  5. We had a number of proposals for collaboration in 2004, a significant one being the joint warehousing/distribution proposal from CCP
  6. We were instrumental in getting USAID to hire a consultant to do the field needs assessment for FP/HIV Integration materials
  7. We gained some good USAID recognition
  8. We put out the first publication in the FP/HIV Integration Series, which was the last issue of “Network”

Back to Top

2005 Goals
Goals for 2005 and possible ways to achieve/expand on them:

  1. Joint mailing to the medical libraries: see how first shipment goes, then think of expanding to French/Spanish Libraries materials. Possibly do one of each language every year henceforth
  2. Revive the idea of the field information needs assessment (merge with evaluation efforts to monitor and measure the impact of publications and of dissemination*)
  3. Publish at least a second publication in the joint FP/HIV integration series
  4. Move collaboration forward. Include private-public collaboration efforts to agenda. Plan the sharing of planned publications exercise earlier in the work-planning process.
  5. Work on getting together a “how to evaluate publications” toolkit
  6. Increase interest in warehousing/mailing collaboration–get a few more organizations who do large mailings to buy-in
  7. Have speakers on key topics at meetings eg. Sharing info on software used by different groups, or Knowledge Management websites
  8. Monitor use of new technologies in health
  9. Compile a bottom line HIPNet endorsed set of indicators for publication impact. Need to first define what a success is on this scale/in this industry/for each type of publication etc.

Back to Top

On Branding:

As of now, the branding guidelines are mandatory for USAID contractors only. Organizations who are working under a cooperative agreement can choose to follow some/all of the guidelines optionally, although it has been suggested that if CAs are planning a new publication/website or revising an old one, they should s eriously consider including the new agency standard graphic identity, rather than just the logo alone. Sandra Jordan from USAID discussed some of the issues with the guidelines, and fielded questions on the guidelines and the process of compliance. She is currently looking into some of the questions raised at the meeting. They included:

  • If publications are already in the pipeline and are almost ready for publication, will the guidelines apply?
  • What about publications where an agency is publishing something on behalf of another government, for example country guidelines in conjunction with MOHs etc?
  • What about reprints and translations?
  • Do contractors have to change their stationary and/or business cards or is this optional? (right now, use up what you have and transition thereafter)
  • What is the time-frame for compliance?
  • Who will be monitoring compliance and how will this be done? (Spot-checks?)

If you have any questions, Sandra asks that you email them to her and include examples where possible. She will do her best to get answers as quickly as she can.

You can download the entire Graphic Standards Manual at

COMMENTS: If you want to comment on the proposed branding for cooperative agreements, you must submit comments on or before Feb. 3, 2004 (next week). E-mail your comments to or fax them to 202-216-3058, c/o John Neimeyer, Attorney Advisor, Office of General Counsel, USAID/Washington.

MEETING: There is a public meeting Wednesday, February 16 of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid at the J.W.Marriott Hotel on 1331 Penn Ave. One can pre-register on-line, check agenda updates, etc. Joanne Giardino will be addressing branding issues there. Go to for more info on this mtg.

Web Site Branding: Find out more at


On e-Communication Issues:

There were some questions regarding the use of HTML (vs plain text) in email communications including newsletters, listserv emails etc, as well as having to send things in PDF format as opposed to text files. Sandra asked that if you have questions about any of this please send her your question with an example, and your specific concerns about these rules (Acrobat Readers may not be installed on computers used in the developing world, etc).

A suggestion was made that we have a subcommittee who would discuss web-based dissemination of information to further explore these nuances.

On Repositioning Family Planning:

Repositioning Family Planning is an agency initiative that supports advocacy and evidence-based interventions to mobilize commitment and strengthen family planning services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Evidence based = proven approaches that have been substantiated by experiential or empirical data.

Back to Top

Subcommittee Focusing on the Evaluation of Publications

We had a discussion on reviving the HIPNet subcommittee to focus on evaluation of publications and develop indicators for discussion within HIPNet and with USAID. This committee could also revisit the information needs assessment developed by HIPNet a couple of years ago. The group expressed interest in developing a repository of questions that groups actually use and that could be used by other HIPNet members. The group also plans to try to come up with collectively agreed upon indicators that can be compiled into a compendium. Tara Sullivan (INFO) and Molly Strachan (POLICY) will co-chair this subcommittee. If you are interested in participating, please contact Tara ( or Molly (

Back to Top

Updates on Ongoing HIPNet Activities:

FP/HIV Integration:
See notes of latest FP/HIV/Integration conference call for additional information.

The integration group is working on updating the list of gaps in FP/HIV integration based on a list developed from the USAID guidance on FP/HIV integration. If you’d like to provide comments on the gaps list, please contact Peggy D’Adamo ( The group will teleconference again in February and plans to present information on its activities at the FP/HIV integration partners mtg. scheduled for April 5-6.

The committee recommended that HIPNet should still continue to pursue the idea of creating a HIPNet brand or seal of approval that would be printed on integration publications that are a result of HIPNet collaboration or that are part of a HIPNet series.

This would also entail developing a process by which the seal of approval would be awarded to a particular publication. This will be further discussed by the committee at its next meeting.

If you’d like to be involved in these discussions, please contact Peggy D’Adamo ( Committee members include Sandra Jordan (USAID), Samantha Ender (Advance Africa), Molly Strachan (POLICY), Kathleen Shears (FHI), Steve Goldstein, Theresa Norton and Peggy D’Adamo (INFO), Rachel Nugent (PRB) Inon Schenker (INon Schenker International), and Laura Raney (FRONTIERS).

Collaboration for Planning Publications
Members discussed the usefulness of the collaboration brainstorming activity that was carried out last year. Some of the problems associated with this activity were:

  • It was conducted too late in the work-plan process
  • It doesn’t account for work that is commissioned to reflect changing priorities at USAID since the process began.
  • Agenda’s change, and all work is dependent on whether it gets USAID approval, so doing it early in the process may mean it is not a completely accurate representation

On the other hand, members found that the compilation of planned publications helped them:

  • See what topics were important, what was being done, what was out there
  • Plan collaborative efforts
  • Approach USAID with some amount of evidence that efforts were not being duplicated

Members also pointed out that the most useful part of the exercise was actually participating in the meeting/brainstorming session, rather than receiving updated lists of the planned publications. Beyond this point in the workplan process, members said they were unlikely to look at a revised list again. Therefore it was decided that updates need not be made anymore, but that any organization which did not participate initially should feel free to circulate its own list of planned publications.

Other issues regarding collaboration discussed were:

  1. The possibility of creating a database of all existing publications. This would be so that people can search for all the publications at one place rather than having to go to the individual websites of all 20+ CAs. This has been discussed by HIPNet before. The problem with this is that the upkeep of the database would be tough for any one organization to manage. Also it was pointed out that the Population and Health Infoshare (PHISHARE) website ( does include partner sites (and many CAs are participating in it) and allows partners to upload their full text publications. HIPNet members are encouraged to check out the site, and to make sure their organization’s publications are searchable through this site.
  2. Creating CD-ROMs with full text publications. The content of the CD-ROMS could be designated by topics (that members find relevant) and then disseminated by all CAs. (FHI already produced a FP/HIV Integration CD with full text materials and 2 matrices listing ongoing and planned programs in this area)
  3. Creating a one-two sided sheet listing available materials on any given topic that would also be distributed by all CAs

Joint Mailing to Libraries
A letter was sent out to all (1,278) libraries on the English-speaking, developing-country, USAID-approved, library list. The letter explained who we are, and what kind of materials we would be sending. The letters were mailed with a postage-paid return envelope, so that responses could be sent back to us at no cost to the libraries. They were given till the end of March to respond. We will only be sending materials to those libraries who respond within that time.

HIPNet members now need to come up with a list of materials to send. Some questions to be addressed:

  1. Do we limit the overall size of the package? And if so, what would that upper limit be?
  2. Do we limit the number of publications that each CA can send?

Each group that participates will contribute to the shipping costs based on weight and number of pieces.

Peggy suggested that If groups have stipulations as to where they want their materials to go (eg. only to African libraries), then they provide large numbers, so that it does not also have to be sorted by they first 50/100 etc. She also suggested that fact sheets or pamphlets not be included unless they come in a series or folder that would be easy (and worthwhile for the librarian) to catalogue. Peggy also suggested that if you have the cataloging information for your publications that it be included on a slip of paper in the publication. Please contact Peggy if you are interested in including materials in the first mailing. It will go out in April.

Collaborative distribution
Several groups have tried doing bulk or routine mailings with Distribution Postal Company. Futures and FRONTIERS have begun to use them for routine weekly mailings and Georgetown has used them for a bulk mailing to 800 people. A fact sheet on pricing/services was distributed. Anyone interested in more information on this, and on using of postage-paid envelopes by Distribution Postal should contact Heather Johnson of INFO at For more facts on Collaborative Warehousing and Distribution click here.

Back to Top

Pitching HIPNet to the Regional Country Support Teams
On Feb 17th 2005 members of HIPNet will be attending a meeting with the Regional Country Support Teams (RSCs) to pitch HIPNet, and tell them what we have to offer. These members are:
Peggy D’Adamo
Willow Gerber
Laura Rainey
Renu Bery
Sandra Jordan

If you have comments or suggestions, you can contact them individually (contact information below on attendance list)

Back to Top

Regarding another IT meeting…
We discussed the possibility of holding another IT conference. As discussed earlier, members seemed interested in the possibility of holding this kind of event in a developing country to enable more developing country participation. Suggestions included partnering with other international organizations (HIFNet in London, AHILA in Africa etc) and possibly piggybacking on a global conference that attracts developing country participation (like the Global AIDS Conference or Global Health Council conference). Steve Goldstein has offered to take the lead on looking into the possibility of partnering with other organizations and/or the possibility of hitching onto another conference. If you have ideas/suggestions please contact Steve.

Back to Top

Other Items:
Some proposed topics for speakers and or discussions that we can have at future HIPNet meetings:

  1. Internal experiences with knowledge management
  2. Graphic and planning software used by different organizations (XML and Sharepoint specifically)
  3. Technology vs. purpose. The idea that sometimes setting up systems overshadows the more important aspects of the project (audience, purpose of technology etc)

Next Meeting:
May 4th 2005 at JSI in Roslyn VA.