Portal Proliferation


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Portal Proliferation

  1. 1. Portal proliferation: Good, Bad, or just Confused? Paul Miller 17 June 2003
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>What is a portal? </li></ul><ul><li>The PORTAL project </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding users </li></ul><ul><li>Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is a portal?
  4. 4. Portal definition #1 <ul><li>“ a term, generally synonymous with gateway , for a World Wide Web site that is or proposes to be a major starting site for users when they get connected to the Web or that users tend to visit as an anchor site.” </li></ul><ul><li>(whatis.com) </li></ul>
  5. 5. See www.royalmail.com/
  6. 6. See odur.let.rug.nl/arge/
  7. 7. Portal definition #2 <ul><li>“ A network service that provides a personalised, single point of access to a range of heterogeneous network services, local and remote, structured and unstructured. Portal functionality often includes resource discovery, email access and online discussion fora. Portals are intended for (human) end-users using common Web 'standards' such as HTTP, HTML, Java and JavaScript. In the context of the JISC IE, portals interact with brokers, aggregators, indexes, catalogues and content providers using Z39.50, SRW, the OAI-PMH and RSS/HTTP.” </li></ul><ul><li>(JISC Information Environment Architecture glossary) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Gateway definition #1 <ul><li>“A network service based on a catalogue of Internet resources” </li></ul><ul><li>(JISC Information Environment Architecture glossary) </li></ul>
  9. 9. See www.scran.ac.uk/jisc/
  10. 10. See hds.essex.ac.uk/go-geo/
  11. 11. See ads.ahds.ac.uk/heirport/
  12. 12. Portal definition #3 <ul><li>“a [ thin ] layer which aggregates , integrates , personalises and presents information, transactions and applications to the user according to their role and preferences” </li></ul><ul><li>(JISC PORTAL Project) </li></ul>
  13. 13. See www.digital.hull.ac.uk/
  14. 14. So when is a portal not a portal? <ul><li>Everyone claims to have a portal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The value of the term is therefore diluted </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can we identify what’s important about a portal, and use other terms for other things? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web site, gateway, thingummy , portal… </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Web site <ul><li>Online content </li></ul><ul><li>Defining Characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visible using a standard web browser </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Principally HTML/XHTML text and associated images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses hyperlinks, but principal focus is itself, rather than other sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Royal Mail! </li></ul>
  16. 16. Gateway <ul><li>Links and pointers to content of value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mostly online, often within a single topic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Defining characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Primarily a collection of descriptions of resources, and pointers to those resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The bulk of the resources belong to other people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typically descriptions of web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ARGE ? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Thingummy <ul><li>Links and pointers to content of value </li></ul><ul><li>Defining characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not restricted to HTTP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May include search/cross-search capability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pixus, Go-Geo, HEIRPORT ? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Portal <ul><li>Personalisable aggregator of information and services </li></ul><ul><li>Defining characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customisable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personalisable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggregates and integrates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Capable of Single Sign-On ? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embedding of transactional services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>port.hull. </li></ul>
  19. 19. 3 web sites, 2 gateways, 5 thingummies and a portal… … and Alice!
  20. 20. Customisation & Personalisation <ul><li>Customisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can I have red text , please? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can I see departmental news, please? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can I have the accessible version, please? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get rid of that weather forecast! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Please tell me about new journal articles. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Customisation & Personalisation <ul><li>Personalisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You asked for departmental news. Here is the news for your department… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I know you’re visually impaired. Here is the accessible version of this site… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You asked for new journal articles. I know you’re an archaeologist, so here’s the Table of Contents for Antiquity … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I won’t bother telling you about Nature or The Economist , though, unless you tell me to </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You have 273 new e-mails, owe the library £12 in fines, and are overdrawn at your bank by £1,362.40. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. The PORTAL Project
  23. 23. PORTAL project <ul><li>Presenting natiOnal Resources To Audiences Locally </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Funded by the JISC’s FAIR Programme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>18 Month project, from September 2002 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>University of Hull and UKOLN </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building upon Hull’s development of an institutional portal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surfacing external content and services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing content provider issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding user needs </li></ul></ul>See www.fair-portal.hull.ac.uk/
  24. 24. Understanding Users
  25. 25. Current work <ul><li>Focus upon ‘institutional portals’ in FE and HE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online questionnaire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>557 responses by 14 February </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>53 participants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>27 interviews </li></ul></ul></ul>See www.fair-portal.hull.ac.uk/deliverables.html
  26. 26. See www.learndev.hull.ac.uk/portal_survey/
  27. 27. Top Ten Features <ul><li>Search favourite resources </li></ul><ul><li>Library administration </li></ul><ul><li>Access or update teaching materials </li></ul><ul><li>Personal information </li></ul><ul><li>Library and quality Internet resources alerts </li></ul><ul><li>Access your institutional email </li></ul><ul><li>Handbook </li></ul><ul><li>Deadline alerts </li></ul><ul><li>Access or update reading lists </li></ul><ul><li>Campus news </li></ul>
  28. 28. What users want… Postgraduate Students: Library admin Search your favourite resources Deadline alerts Library & Internet resource alert Access reading lists Higher Education Undergrad: Deadline alerts Review marks Library admin Access teaching materials Search your favourite resources Admin Staff: Staff development Personal information Forms & documentation Search your favourite resources Access your institutional email Campus news Academic Staff: Search your favourite resources Library & Internet resource alerts Library admin Personal information Update teaching materials
  29. 29. …and what they don’t <ul><li>The Weather ! </li></ul><ul><li>News </li></ul><ul><li>Catering Bookings </li></ul><ul><li>Salary Data </li></ul><ul><li>Voting in Student Elections </li></ul>
  30. 30. Additional Features <ul><li>Single Sign On </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Targeted Announcements </li></ul><ul><li>Remote Access </li></ul><ul><li>Reliable! </li></ul>
  31. 31. …and elsewhere… <ul><li>The Cultural Content Forum is exploring audience requirements for the digitised cultural heritage. </li></ul>See June issue of D-Lib Magazine at www.dlib.org/ See www.culturalcontentforum.org/
  32. 32. Standards
  33. 33. <ul><li>RSS </li></ul><ul><li>WSRP/WSDL/WSFL/UDDI </li></ul><ul><li>Z39.50 </li></ul><ul><li>OAI </li></ul><ul><li>Liberty Alliance </li></ul><ul><li>etc. </li></ul>
  34. 34. RSS <ul><li>Rich/RDF Site Summary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘easy’ mechanism for syndicating content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Works especially well for ‘news’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many versions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>JISC IE currently recommends version 1.0 </li></ul></ul></ul>See www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue35/miller/ See www.britarch.ac.uk/archaeoblog/
  35. 35. Web Services <ul><li>About making the Web transactional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP) especially relevant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also Universal Description, Discovery & Integration (UDDI), Web Services Description Language (WSDL), Web Services Flow Language (WSFL) </li></ul></ul></ul>See www.oasis-open.org/ See www.digicult.info/downloads/digicult_info3.pdf (pp. 21-23)
  36. 36. Z39.50 <ul><li>Grandaddy of distributed search standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ageing, but still deployed, especially in library sector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current effort – under ‘ZING’ umbrella – to make underlying semantics relevant to the web and web services environment </li></ul></ul>See www.loc.gov/z3950/agency/ See www.loc.gov/z3950/agency/zing/ See www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue21/z3950/
  37. 37. OAI <ul><li>Open Archives Initiative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not really about archives at all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preprints, e-Prints, etc, but with relevance to this sector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrated by CIMI, ADS CIE demonstrator, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>See www.openarchives.org/ See www.oaforum.org/ See www.cimi.org/wg/metadata/
  38. 38. Liberty Alliance <ul><li>Multi-organisational approach to understanding people, their rights and roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enabling interoperable exchange of access rights, etc., whilst protecting personal data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For now, many educational portals using IMS LIP or EduPerson </li></ul>See www.projectliberty.org/ See www.fair-portal.hull.ac.uk/deliverables.html WP6
  39. 39. Conclusion <ul><li>A lot of people claim to be building ‘portals’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some of them even are </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We need a better understanding of what users want from all of this </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Build it and they will come” is simply not true </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There may be nothing wrong with a multitude of ways in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessing a common pool of content in a standards-conformant and interoperable fashion. </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. PORTAL P resenting nati O nal R esources T o A udiences L ocally [email_address] See www.fair-portal.hull.ac.uk/