Internet Portals Interest Group

This interest group is inactive.

Charge

Established in 2002. The Internet Portals IG defines a portal as a service (and related systems and approaches to organization) that facilitates organized knowledge discovery via information accessible through the Internet. The mission of the IG is to explore, research, educate and generally facilitate an understanding and sharing of knowledge about portal services (best practices, system design and software) among LITA members and throughout the library community and to help improve the state-of-the-art of portal services, systems, and support groups in regard to both current and future library (or related) services. This will be accomplished through educational programs and presentations, publications and participation in standards development relevant to portals. Although the major focus is library-based or oriented portals, all portals are of interest to the IG given that important path breaking technologies and approaches of value to libraries frequently stem from non-library contexts.

Programs

The Internet Portals Interest Group defines a portal as a service (and related systems and approaches to organization) that facilitates organized knowledge discovery through the Internet. The mission of the IG is to explore, research, educate and generally facilitate an understanding and sharing of knowledge about portal services (best practices, system design and software) among LITA members and throughout the library community and to help improve the state-of-the-art of portal services, systems and support groups in regard to both current and future library (or related) services. This will be accomplished through educational programs and presentations, publications and participation in standards development relevant to portals. Although the major focus is library-based or oriented portals, all portals are of interest to the IG given that important path breaking technologies and approaches of value to libraries frequently stem from non-library contexts.

Philosophy

The Internet Portals Interest Group's Interests and Concerns are Membership Driven:

The Internet Portals Interest Group is democratic in nature and will, naturally, make every effort to pursue the interests of its members.

The Internet Portals Interest Group's Intent is to be Inclusive and Represent a Broad Range of Interests:

The Internet Portals Interest Group will be a forum for all Internet Portals, Virtual Libraries and Catalogs with portal-like capabilities (IPVLCs) and individuals and organizations interested in IPVLCs. These somewhat different approaches to often very similar challenges and services are encouraged to communicate in our forum. Our inclusiveness simply reflects the reality that there is significant co-evolution occurring among these types of tools; the Internet Portals Interest Group is a vehicle by which the various communities and individuals representing or interested in these approaches can communicate and develop common ground.

Governance & Proceedural Matters

Officers and Elections -- Chair and Vice-Chair Governance:

2 year terms; Vice-chair elected by simple majority every year at Annual ALA; Each candidate allowed two minutes to declare their interests and affiliations to the group; Vice-chair serves in that position for one year then becomes Chair for one year.

Committees and Committee Facilitators:

Given the many flavors of portality it is anticipated that sub-groups organized around particular themes will form. These are encouraged to form and meet as interest dictates in the second half of our meetings. Each will select a Facilitator and briefly report on their discussions and activities at each meeting. Such groups may go on to form their own IGs. Facilitators report to the IPIG Chair.

Meeting Structure:

Our meetings are long (3-4 hours) and consist of two parts, roughly equal in length. The first is concerned with issues and areas of probable common interest to all types of portals. The second is concerned with Committee or sub-group specialized or focused concerns and interests that may develop (e.g., virtual libraries, catalogs with portal-like capabilities, sustainability issues, standards relevant to portals). Often this will take the form of a break-out session where multiple meetings can occur.

Themes and Threads:

On our Web site, we will be posting major discussions that occur within our meetings and via our discussion list in a Themes and Threads area. The discussions will be summarized and IPIG members who are interested in or participated in them will be listed along with contact information. We will need volunteer authors to encapsulate and be responsible for a given theme or thread. Such volunteers would act as resource people to help acquaint interested members (often new) with resources and contacts on a particular theme. Themes and Threads topics can be pursued person to person, in our meetings and through our discussion list.

Themes & Threads

This area consists of summaries, related resources and contacts regarding major discussions that have occurred or are occurring within our meetings and via our discussion list. The discussions are summarized by volunteer Internet Portals Interest Group members who are interested in or have participated in them and who are listed with contact information along with the summary. The contact people listed act as resource people to help acquaint interested members (often new) with resources on a particular theme. Themes and Threads topics are generated in our meetings and through our discussion list. Themes and Threads serves to introduce and educate members and others as well as to generally make more visible important dialogues that have taken or are taking place.

Library of Congress Action Plan (2003 ALA MW IPIG meeting):

Carolyn Larson, Everette Larson, Gary Huggins and Ardie Bausenbach from LC discussed their major planning effort. The intent and current progress of this exciting and pioneering effort was detailed. For further information consult: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/lcpaig/paig.html or Carolyn Larson clar@loc.gov

Preconference on Portals - 2004 (2003 ALA MW IPIG meeting):

There was widespread interest in organizing a pre-conference for ALA Mid-winter '04 or ALA Annual '04 (probably the latter) that would last a day and cover the whole spectrum of "portality": types, organizational issues, collaborative efforts, design/usability/audience relevance issues, software and systems issues, getting them going, maintaining them, future directions in portal organization and collaboration, future directions in portal technology and so on. While a great number of issues and concerns will be addressed, the emphasis will be on providing attendees with the information they need to make informed decisions about and develop their portal efforts. The Chair and Vice-chair will pursue this with LITA. Contact: Amos Lakos, aalakos@library.ucla.edu

Open Source Portal Software - An Issue for All (2003 ALA MW IPIG meeting):

Question -- Just as libraries typically own the buildings in which their collections are housed and railways own the tracks on which their trains run, shouldn't portals be interested in developing and owning the portal software they depend upon? Discussion - Many of the large efforts have not pursued this. NSDL emphasizes this approach. Access to programming expertise a problem for some. Commercial efforts often not adequate (and expensive). OCLC Site Search is open source (albeit under a unique license they invented; they may re-license under a more standard open source license). Many of the LOOK portals use/have developed open source software.

Note: Chair would like to revisit this in Toronto. Ideas? Contact: Steve Mitchell, smitch@ucrac1.ucr.edu

Matching Portal Services and Content with Appropriate Audiences and Usability Issues (2003 ALA MW IPIG meeting):

Audiences/Patronage: It is critical for the portal, from design inception, to reflect the needs of its audience(s). Start with user context and needs then move into planning, design and management. Design and usability studies go hand in hand. Contact: Amos Lakos, aalakos@library.ucla.edu,web: http://personal.anderson.ucla.edu/amos./index.html

The Golden Ring and the Librarians' Web (2003 ALA MW IPIG meeting):

There is evidence that the large search engines may be losing accuracy and that their objectivity is compromised in many cases. They also have the monumental task of covering all subjects and all audiences. The algorithms they are based on may not be up to the task much longer. They provide their services with no guarantees of continuation. At the same time, in some countries, there are consumer movements concerned with information credibility and quality on the Web. Against this background there is an abundance of IPVLC (Internet Portals, Virtual Libraries and Library Catalogs with Portal-like Capabilities) activity in which librarian experts do very important and credible work in maintaining subject and other types of access to important Internet resources. But these often do not scale well and are not collaboratively organized and are frequently redundant. Could the case be made then that, if organized properly to share distributed collection responsibilities and if the technology was there to provide machine-assistance and labor savings in collection building, such services could be collaboratively developed to scale and could become among the more mission critical services offered to the public and academia? Could such efforts be nurtured and shaped into becoming one of the more important, public domain finding tools of the Internet; a key map for the Information Commons that actually is based in and belongs to this Commons? If we lost the chance at such a golden ring with the advent of Alta Vista in 1996, it looks like we may be getting another chance in 2003. Shall we begin? Why not with our IG? Contact: Steve Mitchell, smitch@ucrac1.ucr.edu or Karen Schneider, kgs@lii.org

Selected Resources