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Libraries Provide Support for COVID-19 Wisconsin Connect (CWC) App

June 18, 2020

The recent launch of the free website and anticipated mobile app, COVID-19 Wisconsin Connect (CWC), highlights the collaborative nature of the services offered by the UW-Madison Libraries. Peggy Smith, Reference and Data Librarian in the Business Learning Commons, lent her expertise in research and data analysis to the project, led by the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS).

As a part of the project’s Marketing and Publicity Team, Peggy was tasked with providing market data to Debra Pierce, an associate faculty member in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The latter then used the data in writing the market plan. Because of the enormous scope of the project and the amount of data needed, Michael Enyart, Director of the Business Library, also researched information alongside Peggy.

Being asked to participate in the CWC project was simply an extension of Peggy’s kind of work every day. “This is the type of project both Advertising and Marketing students are trying to do for the ‘real world,’ so I spend a lot of time explaining how to do this and helping students through the process.”

In addition, she frequently works with entrepreneurs, who will turn to her to research the market while writing a business plan or looking for funding.

When asked specifically about the CWC project and its relationship to the Libraries, Peggy said, “I think this highlights the depth, breadth, and quality of our data. It also highlights just one area of expertise available in our libraries. Not only do we provide the data, we understand how to use and apply it in a meaningful and useful way.”

She says she feels that the Libraries’ involvement with the project emphasizes the importance of the Library staff’s relationships with faculty. “They feel comfortable in approaching us for help and trust our abilities.”

Michael added, “I think this accomplishment is a good example of Aristotle’s ‘but the whole is something besides the parts.’ So many departments, so many people are working towards one outcome. It also illustrates the value of networking. In most projects on this campus, the University Library is often a degree or two separated from the product.”

Peggy often works closely with Debra Pierce and felt flattered to be asked to participate in Debra’s market plan for CWC. “She teaches the advanced Media and Advertising classes, and I know she could have done this by herself. I was honored to be a trusted partner.” Peggy is also happy that her contributions helped to ease someone’s burden during this pandemic.

She said she thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the CWC project and wants people to know if they need market data, she’s here to help.

The CWC website provides Wisconsinites with accurate, up-to-date news and information, social support, and helpful resources related to COVID-19. The site includes discussion rooms, a fact-checker, guided meditations, and a virtual resource center. Some content is provided in Spanish, Hmong, and Chinese Mandarin, which the developers hope to expand shortly.