People, Processes, Technology

Andrew Cox,

Portals: People, Processes, Technology
First applied to internet gateways such as Yahoo, the concept of the "portal" has evolved in a bewildering number of directions. Different themes of personalization, aggregation or integration seem to have dominated our understanding of what a portal should be at different times. Many organizations and institutions have borrowed the idea from the net to address local problems of integrating and presenting information sources to users - yet they have developed the concept in different ways. Meanwhile new models seem to be constantly emerging from the internet. Tracking this evolving concept is clearly of particular concern for information services. How can they best take advantage of internet portals to improve access to resources? What are the requirements for delivery of diverse content through a local portal? And how do portals run by libraries relate to wider organizational initiatives? This edited collection seeks answers to these questions, providing the library and broader information community with an overview of how portals are currently being used. Leading edge researchers and practitioners explore the variety of ways in which the aspiration to portalize information is currently being realized and offer several views on likely future trends. The book is divided into five sections: Section 1 discusses generic aspects of portals such as questions of definition, as well as exploring the underlying technologies and overarching management issues, and the concepts of personalization and user needs analysis. Section 2 focuses on the role of information services in developing portals. Sections 3 and 4 analyse the current experience of portals within the corporate, public and academic sectors, with case studies and reviews of sector trends. Section 5 offers various perspectives on the future development of the concept of the portal. This is an invaluable book for the growing numbers of information practitioners interested in developing or contributing to a portal, and those supporting users of portals. It will also be useful to students of information management seeking to increase their understanding of how the concept of the portal is being realized in the information world.

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