April 26, 2018

Laura Gordon-Murnane | Movers & Shakers 2005

Creating Value from Innovation


Some corporate executives regard their libraries as black holes that just consume company resources, but thanks to Laura Gordon-Murnane, executives at the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) know their library actively adds value to the company.

As web master for BNA’s intranet, Gordon-Murnane creates information tools, databases, and products for the agency’s editors and reporters. Toby McIntosh, managing editor of BNA’s Daily Report for Executives, says, “One of the greatest pleasures of working at BNA is when Laura drops into my office and says, ‘I have an idea.’ Her inventiveness stems from thinking about our publications and our subscribers’ needs. A core Laura contribution has been the creation of one-stop-shopping news sites, both for our reporters and subscribers.”

Her greatest contribution, BNA Web Watch, grew from topical scans Gordon-Murnane had been compiling and sending to BNA’s editors and journalists. McIntosh thought subscribers could benefit from these scans as well. At first, he published them on the back page of the Daily Report for Executives. Then he realized that making the information available on the net would not only benefit subscribers but also make potential subscribers aware of BNA products.

Every week since 2002, BNA’s Web Watch has tackled a current public policy issue, e.g., Digital Software Piracy, Government Openness, and Social Security Individual Retirement Accounts. For each topic, Gordon-Murnane provides annotated links to relevant web-based resources from federal and nongovernmental information sources: white papers, Congressional hearings, court decisions, statistics, Federal Register entries, and more. Each page then provides links to free trials of BNA services relevant to that issue.

Gordon-Murnane spends her work life with people who value accurate information as much as she does and works every day with political history in the making. There could hardly be a more ideal environment for this information junkie and former history Ph.D. candidate.

Information at BNA is a two-way street. “When I’m researching a topic for Web Watch, I talk to the expert journalists who cover that topic to learn more about the issue,” she says. “In the course of our discussions, I will bring up library resources and the searches we can do.”

Marilyn Bromley, BNA’s library director, says Gordon-Murnane excels at every function: as creator (cofounder of BNA’s intranet and creator of a blog for correspondents), consultant (for the design of new subscription web products and external web pages), producer, idea generator, administrator (in charge of BNA’s internal homepage), and technology trainer.

Gordon-Murnane has a picture in her office of one of her heroes, Lance Armstrong. The caption reads, “If you are tough enough, every road seems flat.” Since she hasn’t yet discovered a professional hill she couldn’t climb, her road must be very flat indeed.



Current Position Intranet Web Master and Creator/Developer, Web Watch, Bureau of National Affairs, Washington, DC

Degree MLIS, University of Maryland, 1998

Spin Has cycled Glacier National Park, Crete, and Ireland