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by Ray Carlson

Q. My organization has several committees that too often schedule activities that conflict. How can we avoid this?

A. Create a shared or on-line calendar. You can control who has access to the calendar and who can add or edit entries. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and are examples of web services that provide this possibility. With Google, for example, one person has an account [a username and password] and selects a calendar from a series of formats that vary in style and pre-existing content like holidays. The calendar is given a name that appears on the left under “My Calendars.” Click on the down arrow next to that name and select “Share this calendar.”

Add email addresses for the people to be given access to the calendar. They will receive an email message inviting them to view the calendar. The individuals that accept the invitation can also contribute to the calendar. Each can create a personal calendar that will not be viewed by others, and they can see the calendars combined so they will recognize conflicts between their own appointments and those of the group. Any changes to the shared calendar will be visible to the others, the next time they check the calendar. It is also possible to add the calendar to a website to make it visible to all and allow the items to show up in web searches. Check the other calendar services mentioned above and do a web search to see the available variations.

Published: Courier 11/15/09 - Page 5C