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Effective knowledge management is an increasingly important factor in the education of health professionals. Explosive growth of information in all areas of medicine coupled with mounting demands on the time of both faculty and students have generated a need for systems that will simplify access to a diverse range of information resources and facilitate the effective use of this information.

The Tufts University Sciences Knowledgebase, TUSK, is a dynamic multimedia knowledge management system, which supports faculty and students in teaching and learning. TUSK provides a portal to an integrated body of knowledge and means to personally organize the vast array of health information through its related applications. Begun in 1995, it serves all Tufts health sciences schools and programs including the Medical, Dental and Veterinary Schools.

Learn more about TUSK (a Flash PowerPoint presentation)

TUSK's attributes strengthen Tufts' educational infrastructure beyond what widespread commercial course management products can accomplish. Integration is fostered by allowing faculty and students access to data across courses, schools and years with the functionality to link appropriate data from all courses. A student maintains access to all courses as he or she progresses through the curriculum. A students can be the master of his or her own learning by both creating and annotating folders and content in personally meaningful ways. Keyword and learning objective mapping will also enhance knowledge management for both students and curriculum planners

TUSK contains over 150,000 pieces of content. Its features include schedule display, with blocks linked to relevant content, on-line quizzes and evaluations, comprehensive content management system allowing content/metadata upload and course management tools and importantly the ability to reuse existing content in new contexts, indexing using the NLM's Unified Medical Language System, and XML marked up text displaying the semantic meaning of the content (for example there are tags to denote keywords, nuggets, topic sentences and the like). New tools under construction include a case based tool for teaching and learning including a faculty authoring and student interface tools, and tools integrate external content into our system in order to seamlessly viewed within the system. Tools to link content via keywords and learning objectives will help both students and curriculum planners to understand the linkages between content.

Watch our Flash demo of TUSK from a student's perspective.


In 2001, TUSK was awarded the prestigious CIO Enterprise Value Award. This was the first time the award had ever been granted to a university. It also won a 1996 Bright Idea Award from Information Dimensions. Over the last 5 years posters, papers and demonstrations on TUSK were accepted at AMIA, Slice of Life, AAMC, Special Libraries Association, MLA, IMLA, and just recently for MEDINFO in Sept 2004. Last March, TUSK was described in Academic Medicine in a special issue. There are two external installations of the TUSK infrastructure, one at New York Medical College and the other at the Nelson Mandela Medical School at the University of Natal in Durbin, South Africa.