Search Anything Related to Library and Information Science

Library Portal

1. Introduction: The libraries in their different phases of growth and development are trying to be customer focused by responding to customer needs and abilities. In the days of IT environment, the libraries are trying to achieve the same by developing their own website. However, day-by-day the library websites are overburden by a vast amount of link to external resources as well as link to in-house digitize materials. As a result, the users are increasingly found it difficult in following all the Web site’s enhancements. This situation demands a dynamic restructuring of the library website. The dynamic restructure should be such that it should allow the individual user to create personal information systems that are responsive to their personal needs. The system also must empower the users to be a master in their own subject by customizing and personalizing it. This is what the library Presenting natiOnal Resources to Audiences Locally (portal) is going to achieve. Library portal helps in providing a single point of access to the physical and electronic resources to the users. The target resources may be the subscribed journals or databases, open access resources on the web or in-house digitize resources.
Ideally a portal may provide (a) single point of access (searching and browsing); (b) provision to narrow down the search (c) recommendations / related materials (d) scope for user contribution; (e) RSS feeds and (f) integration with social networking sites.

2. Portal: A personal portal is a site on the World Wide Web that typically provides personalized capabilities to its visitors, providing a pathway to other content. It is often necessary to have a centralized application that has access to various other applications within the same enterprise to share the information across the applications. Also the various users with different roles accessing the different applications prefer to have a single access point to all of them over the Internet. They like to personalize the applications and have the coupled applications coordinated. Above all, the administrator users like to have administrative tools all in a single place to administer all the applications. All these are achieved through portals. Since all the applications share information through portals, there is better communication between various types of users. Another advantage of portals is that they can make event-driven campaigns. The advantages of using portals are given below-
a) Intelligent integration and access to enterprise content, applications and processes;
b) Improved communication and collaboration among customers, partners, and employees;
c) Unified, real-time access to information held in disparate systems;
d) Personalized user modification and maintenance of the website presentation.

In a May 2001 ARL Scholars Portal Working Group Report define portal as “... a discovery tool that enables a user to search across certain limited but diverse and distributed websites, library catalogs, and databases of information resources to retrieve and integrate the results in a single presentation.”

The European Library Automation Group (ELAG) 26th Library Systems Seminar on the theme of “Semantic Web and Libraries”, held in Rome, Italy, in April 2002 define portal as “an application which allows one-stop-shop access / searching and discovery via a unified single-point interface to organized heterogeneous resources and enabling services to a pre-defined community (users).”

 “A portal is a web site or web service that provides information content to serve a specific community” (Sadeh & Walker, 2003, p. 12). They further add “A universal aspect of Web portals, however, is that they allow individuals to receive news, find and talk to one another, build a community, and find links to other web resources of common interest”.
 “Web portals, as content aggregators, provide efficient access to information and services online: they are electronic gateways or entrances that provide numerous links to other sites and information that is needed. They provide a central concentrated focal point and an information source that can be personalized. They also allow people to gather detailed information and data as they need it and simplify access to information” (O’Murchu, Breslin & Decker, 2004).
Portal means some information retrieval services powered by some sort of search engine to meet the need of individual rather than to general. And the content residing in portal is generally hoped to be superior to the free content that are available over the internet. Web portal is a “single point, integrated, multi-channel, user-personalized, user-customizable internet site providing access to information, people and process” (Stoffel & Cunningham: 2005, p. 145).
The Joint Information Systems Committee defines a portal as “a network service that brings together content from diverse distributed resources using technologies such as cross searching, harvesting and altering, and collates this in to an amalgamated form for preservation via a web browser to the user”.
Many portal engines uses complex probability and language analysis principles in order “to enable computers to extract meaning from text and to use that meaning to better categorize and deliver useful information” (Silberman, 2001). In the background, the portal creates a large database of documents, articles, and web pages based on the actual ideas in each piece of text. As the database is constructed, it incorporates probability and information principles to categorize the text content according to conceptual similarities. Examples of early public web portals were iGoogle, My Yahoo! and so on.

3. Library Portal: Library portal is only a subset of web portal that are designed to serve specific academic and research communities. It acts as a gateway to the institutional resources (as such portals are also commonly called as gateway) by listing them for users by creating a direct link to the native interface of each resource. It is now considered as a standard interface to aggregate library resources and services through a single access and management point for users. According to Looney and Lyman (2000) library portal are “systems which gather a variety of useful information resources into a single, one-stop Web page, helping the user to avoid being overwhelmed by “infoglut” or feeling lost on the Web”.
“A library portal is a database application, accessible from a web interface, and governed by the principles and practices of librarianship” (Rozic-Hristovski,  Humar & Hristovski, 2003, p. 149). The difference between a library home page and library portal is that “portals are user-centric, while home pages are owner-centric” (Rozic-Hristovski, Humar & Hristovski, 2003, p. 146).
In simple, a library portal is a unified single-point access to the personalized resources which are distributed and diverse in nature. Library portal improve communication, collaboration and empower a library user to develop their communities.

4. History of Portal Products: In the late 1990s, the web portal was a hot commodity. After the proliferation of web browsers in the mid-1990s, many companies tried to build or acquire a portal, to have a piece of the Internet market. The web portal gained special attention because it was, for many users, the starting point of their web browser. Netscape became a part of America Online, the Walt Disney Company launched, and Excite and @Home became a part of A T & T during the late 1990s. Lycos was said to be a good target for other media companies such as CBS.
Many of the portals started initially as either web directories (notably Yahoo!) and/or search engines (Excite, Lycos, AltaVista, infoseek, Hotbot among the old ones). Expanding services was a strategy to secure the user-base and lengthen the time a user stayed on the portal. Services which require user registration such as free email, customization features, and chat rooms were considered to enhance repeat use of the portal. Game, chat, Email, news, and other services also tend to make users stay longer, thereby increasing the advertising revenue.
The portal craze, with old media companies racing to outbid each other for Internet properties, died down with the “.com” flameout in 2000 and 2001. Disney pulled the plug on, Excite went bankrupt and its remains were sold to Some notable portal sites- Yahoo!, for instance - remain successful to this day. To modern .com businesses, the portal craze serves as a cautionary tale about the risks of rushing into a market crowded with highly-capitalized but largely undifferentiated me-too companies.
First of all Herbert Van de Sompel and Patrick Hochstenback of University of Ghent together with their colleague, Oren Beit-Arie from ExLibris developed contextual linking to the point where it has become an international standard (as described by Stubbings in 2003). This can be considering as the beginning of portal movement.
Java in Administration Special Interest Group [Jasig in those days], a group of higher education technology leaders decided to explore the possibility that higher education could build a campus portal themselves, share it freely with anyone who cared to download it, base the technology on open standards, without proprietary vendor lock-in, and, at least in this domain, control their own software destiny. A core framework from vendor IBS started the team off. Soon afterwards, a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, from 2001 to 2003, resulted in uPortal versions 1 and 2. Mellon later made additional funds available so that uPortal could support the emerging “portlet” standard for sharing portal content. By the time of the uPortal 2.5 release, hundreds of institutions, about half in the United States and half in Canada and Europe, had uPortal in production or in a phase leading up to full implementation. The JA-SIG community, led by schools such as Rutgers University, Yale, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, formed a core of developers that continues to develop the application to meet evolving needs. In December 2012, Jasig and Sakai Foundation were consolidated as Apereo Foundation.

5. Need of a Portal Product: Van Brakel (2003) argues that “the average company Web site has reached its limitations and cannot address the modern day demands of the digitally literate employee”. “The availability of “too much” information without organisation of access, is leading academic libraries and information professionals to acquire portal software and/or develop subject portals for all the academic departments in their institutions” (Ubogu, Kekana & Roberts, 2006, p.30). The library portal “systems can greet the user by name, recall their favourite information resources, store previous searches, link to full text articles from periodical databases and, when content is not available, link to the OPAC and allow the users to request interlibrary loans” (Ramsden, 2003, p.17). The need of portal product can be felt for the following reasons.
a) Single Interface: The Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) has been limited to searching physical texts and sometimes digital copies but has only limited special features. The electronic resources subscribed by the libraries have their own default search engines. Again, the different electronic resources provide different search and retrieval interface to the user for accessing its resources and as a result “the current process of accessing several resources for the sake of seeking information is cumbersome and requires some knowledge of the various resources, their access mechanisms, the query interface they provide, and the type of results they return” (Sadeh & Walker, 2003, p.11). The system also requires a manual comparison between the results returned from several resources. To locate and find useful material a user at any point need to go through all these which is a time consuming and cumbersome job. So, the library needs to provide an interface that can provide the facilities to search physical as well as subscribed digital resources together. The library portal is the solution to this problem. It will provide a single point of access along with a web based OPAC to all subscribed full text journal and databases, important OA resources over internet, resources accessible by virtue of institutional affiliation, etc. that is “the familiar portal interface is an option for searching databases that are unfamiliar to the user” (Cox, 2003, p. 38).
b) Single Log In: “Users can be overwhelmed by the number of resources and the problem of multiple log-ins and search interfaces in an online library environment” (Ramsden, 2003, p.17) that need to be eliminated with a single log in for all resources. When user searches with multiple databases, they frequently become annoying of demotivating multiple login option. But, as library portal system handle authentication they can reduce the barrier of users having to remember multiple login.
c) Personalization: This is the age of personalization where everybody feel the need to be unique, whether it is the case with his/her dress designed as single piece in the world by professional designer or a search engine that will only search the resources that is relevant to his / her personal need. Library portal serves this need by giving the provision of extensive customization facilities to the user. It assists users in selecting a particular type of resource for searching. According to Lakos and Gray (2000) “customisable and personalized library portals tend to be customer focused, responding to customer needs, and empowering users to create personal information systems that are responsive to their individual needs”. Customization and personalization means the ability of the portal to deliver content based on the user create profile and to allow the user to change his/her profile. The portal provides the library patrons with the facilities of personalized access to information and determine their own path which resource to choose for search and which to avoid. They can also save searches, store their favourite databases for quick access and reuse. “Some users might prefer to restrict searches to content where full text is available locally” (Cox, 2003, p. 39). Generally users select item for displaying from an initial set up screen that comes after first registration with the portal. Users can later adjust the personalization further by editing the already set up screen. Each and every user can add and delete categories, add more databases and web server without disrupting the portal service, search and gather information and add content to the knowledge base which will be visible to the user’s community. Moreover, the user can create new relationships regarding available data to administer a particular view on some subject within the knowledge base. The portal will also provide the user to receive news, find and talk to one another, build a community and finds links to other web resources of common interest.
d)  Metasearching Tools: A metasearch engine or aggregator is a search tool that uses another search engine’s data to produce its own results. The Metasearching tool aid in the discovery process and eliminate the need to search different databases individually. Library portal “provide federated searching and information retrieval of descriptive metadata from multiple, diverse target resources, including but not limited to commercial or licensed electronic resources, databases, Web pages, and library catalogs” (The Library of Congress, 2005).
e) Browsable Interfaces: The pre-clustered resources can also be browsed by subject, title and so on.
f) Link to the Full Text: The libraries which can afford the base cost of the portal products, the return on investment is justified by maximized usage of key quality electronic library resources (Ramsden, 2003, p.17) as the retrieved results lists are link to full-text or other content delivery options that might be of interest to the user.
g) Inter-Library Loan: Library portal provide facility for interlibrary loan (ILL) or document delivery, for material the library does not own.
h) Citation Management System: The library portal may also provide the facilities to manage the citation.
i) Virtual Presence: Libraries have always functioned as physical portals to physical information. But, day-by-day users have become more aware of the importance of virtual presence of the library, users computer literacy also become significantly increase which forces the libraries to give focus “on their virtual online portal presence even as they maintain physical environments and operations” (White, 2002, p.224). The library portal support the parent organization to digitize its own collection, host it for local as well as remote searches i.e. searching through the local library portal as well as searching through other library portal.
j) Dynamic Library: “On the one hand, libraries should look to the future and make use of the latest information technologies in order to supply people with the latest information. On the other hand, it is their task to preserve the treasures of science and culture accumulated in the past and to make them accessible to future generations, so that they can build upon these “Geistesschatze” of the past” (IFLA Express, 2003). In the portal environment the user can save (download, printing, Emailing) and export search results.
k) Interactive: “More and more universities and colleges invest in distance learning programs, traditional face-to-face instruction is being supplemented or superseded by several browser-based and e-mail-related interactions” (White, 2002, p. 225) that in turn deserve that the services of the libraries should also be accessible through distance mode.
l) Save the Time of the User: A portal provides access to a wide range of heterogeneous resources that do not share a common Meta data standard or search and retrieval techniques, thus saving the time of the user that otherwise need to spend to move from one resource to another.
m) Removed Duplicate Result in the Retrieve List: In many library portals among the retrieve results the duplicate entries are removed by matching on numeric indicators such as ISSN or ISBN.
n) Explores the Deep Web: The search capability of library portal deals with the deep web, by drilling down into database content that the standard web search engine unable to reach.
o) Resource Discovery: Library portal helps user in identifying relevant quality based resources in a subject area. Uses of Open URL protocol in library portal automatically makes connection between the retrieve list of results and the full text of the resources if it is subscribed by the institution concerned.
p) Enhanced the Content of Bibliographic Record: The content of bibliographic record can be enhanced by including a table of content, abstract, cover image of the article, or with a link to other resources so that, the users of the library catalogue can be guided to encyclopedia or approved web resources of the portal.
q) Generation of Statistic: With the introduction of portal the user details could be recorded when they log into the system, it also enables the library to gather statistics on the use of electronic resources.
r) 24 Hour Access: Library portal provides virtual access to the library that means the collection and services of the library would be available 24 hours a day and for seven days a week.
s) Controlling the User: Portal helps in managing access to target resources and portal functionalities for authenticated user communities based on various user classes and roles. Users are shown only the resources that the authorization rules set by the library permit them to see. Library portal “increases the ability of the library to ensure that costly electronic journals and databases are used” (Cox, 2003, p. 38).
t) Maximize the Use of Print Holding: In searching over the library portal, in response to a particular query, the system will retrieve a list of resources which also include resources from the library’s print holding, these are the resources which are not available in electronic format, so the user automatically bound to face their hand towards the paperback volumes.
u) Distance Access: With the introduction of portal any user can access the full text subscribed journal and database of the library collection from any geographical location by just login to the system.

6. Problem in Developing Portal: The problems in developing library portal can be grouped into the followings-
a) Low Portal Literacy: The concept of library portal that appear in the late 1990s is not popular yet. “By the end of 2002, five years after appearance of the first library web portals, there were only about a dozen library web portals in operation in the US” (Zhou, 2003). In a discussion of library portals at the 2002 American Library Association Midwinter Conference, the highest recommended portal adoption rate was 10 per cent (Crawford, 2002). According to Pienaar (2003), the limitations in user literacy is the impediment to the portal channel development.
b) Difficulty in Studying Portal in Work: Studying the portal in work is a difficult task as access to the most of the library portal in operation is password protected. The portal those provide guest logins, the contents that can be viewed by guests was typically much less than the content available to the password members. This is another impediment in portal development.
c) Cost: Portal cost much in terms of software, staff resources and training. So, many libraries prefer to use their fund in procuring resources than to spend it in providing access mechanism to those resources.
d) Lack of Regional Language Setting: A majority of the portal product only supports English language, if one wants to add other regional language features, then the costly product again will be more costly.
e) Lack of Open Source Library Portal Software: By considering the cost factor of the portal product the library are bound to look for product that are release under GNU public license as open source code so that it can be customized to the local need by avoiding its high cost and can be obtained freely by way of downloading from the web. But, development in this direction is also slow.
f) Increase Rate of Downloads: “If time is limited so is money: future full–text downloading may also be limited by pay-for-use charging mechanisms. This would make any anticipated increase in full-text downloading an unlikely measure of portal effectiveness”. (Joint, 2005, p. 340).
g) Too Much Information: Boss (2002) considers that one of the drawbacks of portals is that they can bring too much information to the users and as a result they may be lost in the ocean of information.

7. Portal Vendors and their Portal Products: There are different portal vendors that release a wide spectrum of portal products with different functionalities. The Library of Congress Portals Applications Issues Group (2003) lists a few portal vendor and their products. According to the report of Cox and Yeates (2003) and the online newsletter, Biblio Tech Reviews the best sources of information on the product of library portal comes from the suppliers own web sites. In mid 2002 Ex Libris and Fretwell-Downing Informatics (FDi) were the market leader among the library portal software. However, a leading academic institution portal framework is uPortal by JA-SIG (presently Apero). Some of the popular Portal Vendors and their Portal Products are listed below.
a) Jetspeed: Jetspeed is a platform for launching Portal which is written in Java and XML and based on open standards. It is released under the Apache license. The user can access the portal via a web browser, WAP-phone, pager or any other device supported by the servlet engine. The latest version of Jetspeed is 2.3.1, released May 9, 2016.
b) IBM WebSphere Portal: IBM WebSphere Portal was initially release in 2001, the latest version 9.0 was released in December 2016. It is enterprise software used to build and manage web portals. It provides access to web content and applications, while delivering personalized experiences for users.
c) Millennium Access Plus (MAP): Millennium Access Plus (MAP) is a method for organizations to manage access to information resources, providing patrons and staff with quick access to Internet content while protecting the rights of library and content providers.
d) uPortal: uPortal is a Java-based framework for creating enterprise web portals. It is sponsored by Apereo [formerly Java Architectures Special Interest Group (JA-SIG)], a consortium of educational institutions and commercial affiliates sponsoring open source software projects focused on higher education. uPortal is free and open source software under the Apache License 2.0 and available on the Apereo web site. Kumamoto University (, Université Paris 8 (, Southwestern University ( are using uPortal.
e) Jahia: Jahia is a Web Content Management System (WCM) with a user interface built using Google Web Toolkit and stores its content using the JCR API default implementation Apache Jackrabbit (an open source content repository).
f) JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform (JBoss EPP): JBoss Portal provides an open source platform for hosting and serving a portal’s Web interface, publishing and managing its content, and customizing its experience. The JBoss 2.7.2 was released in March, 2009.
g) GateIn: The GateIn project is a merger of JBoss Portal 2.7 and eXo Portal 2.5 that produced GateIn Portal 3.0, and also the related projects GateIn Portlet Container, eXo JCR, and JBoss Portlet Bridge.
h) Liferay Portal: Liferay Portal was created in 2000 by chief software architect Brian Chan to provide an enterprise portal solution for non-profit organizations.
i) Metadot Portal Server: Metadot is an open source portal and content management software used to create websites, intranets, extranets, project and team spaces anyone can use. It is available for free under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It provides collaboration, content management as well as My News Page (like My Yahoo) and online database applications.
j) SharePoint: SharePoint is a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office. Launched in 2001, SharePoint is primarily sold as a document management and storage system, but the product is highly configurable and usage varies substantially among organizations.
k) Oracle Portal 11g: Oracle Portal 11g offers a complete and integrated framework for building, deploying, and managing enterprise portals running on Oracle WebLogic Server. Oracle WebCenter Services provides horizontal enterprise-ready Web 2.0 services that enable a collaborative and composite environment and enrich the end-user experience with context-aware enterprise portals.
l) Oracle WebCenter Suite: Oracle WebCenter is Oracle’s portfolio of user engagement software products built on top of the JSF-based Oracle Application Development Framework. It connects people, processes, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, content management, Web experience management and collaboration technologies.
m) SAP NetWeaver Portal: SAP NetWeaver Portal is one of the building blocks in the SAP NetWeaver architecture. With a Web Browser, users can begin work once they have been authenticated in the portal which offers a single point of access to information, enterprise applications, and services both inside and outside an organization. The portal provides access to business processes and information, social collaboration and content management across various consumption channels.
n) SirsiDynix® Horizon™ 7.5 and Horizon Information Portal™ 3.20: SirsiDynix® Horizon™ 7.5 and Horizon Information Portal™ (HIP) 3.20 software release supports crucial database upgrades and infrastructure improvements to both Horizon and HIP.
o) OpenText TeamSite: OpenText TeamSite is an enterprise web content management system developed by Interwoven. At present, it is owned, maintained, marketed by OpenText.

Name of the Vendor
Vendor Website
Name of Portal Product
Type of License
Apache Software Foundation
Apache License
Apache License v2.0
WebSphere Portal
Innovative Interfaces Inc.
Millennium Access Plus (MAP)
Not Available
GNU General Public License
JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform (JBoss EPP)
GNU Lesser General Public License
Not Available
GNU Lesser General Public License and Proprietary Licenses
Metadot Portal Server
GNU General Public License
OpenText Corp.
OpenText TeamSite
Oracle Portal 11g
SAP NetWeaver Portal
SIRSI Corporation
SirsiDynix® Horizon™ 7.5 and Horizon Information Portal™ 3.20
Table 1: Different Vendors and their Portal Products

8. Criteria in Selecting Library Portal Product: “The first libraries using the systems seem genuinely excited by the enthusiasm with which they have been greeted by users” (Cox, 2003, p. 41) but, as the development of portal is still new therefore before introducing a portal its need to be evaluated. “There are a number of portal products and solutions in the library marketplace, many of which have been developed by Library Management System (LMS) suppliers” (Ramsden, 2003, p. 17). However, “there remain some issues with suppliers’ compliance or implementations of Z39.50 and the OpenURL” (Cox, 2003, p. 39) that determine the critical point in evaluating the value of the portal. Again, for the development of library portal each and every vendor of software attempt to develop its own unique method of categorizing, searching, presenting, securing and updating the software. Sullivan (2001) has recommended five principles which can define efficient display and access policies to electronic information. They are (a) be able to manage unstructured data through the use of metadata rather than via the original content; (b) be able to provide access to content through user-specific presentations; (c) be able to control access to electronic content through the creation of administrative and public “areas”; (d) be able to support improved and varied searching techniques; and (e) be able to provide updated and current electronic content in a timely fashion.
The criteria for selecting the portal products can be outlined as follows.
a) Compliances with Existing Standard: The portal product must compatible to the search and retrieval standards, including Z39.50 and Z39.50-International: Next Generation (ZING), the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), and OpenURL. It may build on open standard like Java and Extensible Markup Language (XML).
b) AuthCate: The portal must have the facility to log user to the system. Some kind of authentication software (such as Web Access Management (WAM) provided as part of MAP) is a point to be considered in selecting any portal product. The user must access the resource without further login to the subscribed journal and database. That is the subscriber journal or database must automatically authenticate any user whose referring URL is the portal server.
c) OpenURL Protocol: After the search is complete the portal software must use the NISO OpenURL standard protocol to carry the user from the search result list or bibliographic database to subscribed full text of the journal article, if it is available. If the full text is not available it must automatically link to the inter library loan request.
d) Single Interface: Portal must have the facility to act as a single point of access, cross reference searching tool regardless of search protocol i.e. Z39.50, http, ODBC, SQL and metadata i.e. MARC, DC or just the database suppliers data structure.
e) Browsable Categories: The portal must have the facilities to present all information resources added to the portal into some browsable categories by subject or discipline name, library classification or alphabetical listing.
f) Standardize Display: To gives portal credibility to the eyes of the user, in searching library catalogue, open access resources, subscribed journal and database, the portal must returned identical result.
g) Individual Profiles: The system should present a set of resources based on the user profile, it must have the facility to pushing the most relevant resources to the user. However, the user must not to be intended to the limited resources chosen for them by the library professional. All users must given access to all resources so that they can pursue research on any topic. The system must have the facilities to create profile for a group of people having common interest and must also have the facilities to allow the user to modify their individual profile by adding their own favorite resources. In addition, the portal must also enable user to store searches and sign up for alert to new resources to the portal.
h) Resource Linking: Resource linking allows the library to link between the index and abstract of a database with its full text link. Such linking will provide the user to find same information by following multiple paths and the scope for it must be provided by the portal software.
i) Powerful Search Engine: The portal should have a powerful search engine. Interoperation with other gateways and systems, such as institutional portals, or virtual learning environments to provide search and linking to library organized resources from within a department or course web site, supporting the new protocols such as Open Achieve Initiative (OAI), metadata harvesting, etc can be treated as primary need.
j) Present Status is Important than Future Prospect: Many portal products bears promising future, but in choosing the library portal, the library should see what is the present status of the product.
k) Generation of Different Statistic: The portal software should generate statistics as who has used which database, turn ways, downloads? Etc.
l) Speed: The portal must enable the libraries to set up their portal rapidly, taking advantage of the central knowledge base. The library portal must retrieve any number of target resources without requiring prior programming for each target resources.
m) Flexibility: The portal must have a wide range of customization facilities. Individual libraries must add their context and administrative requirement to it. The portal must work efficiently in the environment where standard are lacking but at the same time also bear promising facility to cope up with the promising semantic web.
n) Easy Managing: The virtual collections that are created in the administrative interface must provide drag and drop or some other easy way of managing.
o) Price: Many portal products are very much expensive and since price is a dominating factor in choice so it must rigorously determine “whether significant money is better spent on resources than on making them a bit easier to use” (Cox, 2003, p. 40). Each and every library system demands some sort of customization of the original library portal software. The cost of library portal system depends upon such customization factor. It depends upon the number of expected staff, number of simultaneous user, total collection of the library, and so on. “The cost of the systems is high, though there is great scope for negotiation and discounting, particularly as these are still fairly young products and suppliers are prepared to offer favourable terms to pioneering clients” (Ramsden, 2003, p. 24).
p) Open Source: If possible, the library should select portal which are released under GNU Public license, Apache License or similar license. It will provide several benefit to the library- firstly the portal software will be free, the operating system to run such software will also be free without a need to purchase licenses. If one feel the need to go for portal software then his/her priority should be to go for open source portal softwares for mutual benefit as after implementation, the implementing agency may do code enhancements that if again shared might benefit all participating institutions.
            The portal engines must also have the facilities to create personalized content, enable a portal user to see a visual representation of the relationship existing between the results of their content queries, form online communities, subject channel, maintain search history, and create individual profile of each user and so on.

9. Steps in Introducing a Portal: The selected portal product may go through the following steps for its implementation in the libraries.
a) Trialing of Portal: After selecting any portal product the library first need to request proposal from the portal vendor for a proper presentation and demonstration then only, the library should sign the contract with the vendor for a trial. If trial runs successful then extension to its full implementation should be considered. The trial must allow for the library to withdraw from the contract if it does not meet the requirement.
b) Customizing the Existing Portal to Meet the Local Need: “When deploying an already developed system, the majority of the hard work has already been done” (Rozic-Hristovski, Humar & Hristovski, 2003, p. 149). However, the library should look to the professional hand to further customization of the product to meet the local need.
c) Identification and Selection of Resources: Selecting the resources that need to be personalized to meet the needs of library patron and which will remain static i.e. constant for all category of user is the first point of consideration after customization of the portal product. The static information will includes opening hours of the library, staff information, circulation policy, library rule, and charge for different types of services, etc. In simple the information that are not of interest to all users require the personalization.
d) Contents Identification of Library Portal: Many library portals provide alphabetical listing of the resources by site name. They are frequently enriched by a search engine which also acts as a tool for resource discovery. According to Karvounarakis, Christophides & Plexousakis (2001) in order for a web portal to be successful “it must be a starting place for locating interesting content. Typically this content is submitted by members of the community, who often index it under some subtopic, another means of collecting content relies on the content providers tagging the content with information that can be used in syndicating it”. The tagging involves the creation of simple tags that identify the topic of the content. The default result should also be defined clearly that will return when a search term in the portal will produce null results.
e) Presentation of Information over the Portal: Many libraries organize their in-house collection searchable by maintaining a database of all e-resources. These collections can be search and browse according to title and keyword. The subscribed e-journal and e-databases collections should have the provision of browsing according to subject or keyword specific pages. Another option is to create alphabetical listing according to journal name or publisher.
f) Publicizing the Introduction of Library Portal: As soon as library portal is introduced it must be advertise to the faculties, research scholar, staff and most primarily the library patron through Email. They must also need to be invited for a hands-on sessions. If feel needed the user must provide training regarding how to use the library portal more effectively.
g) Marketing: By introducing library portal the library can think to extend their services to all alumni of the institution, and can charge them with the recurring cost of the portal. This will be good marketing place, if think seriously.
h) Maintenance: The faculty members / programme coordinator / course coordinator / instructor should regularly search for resources in the library portal and then paste them into a course website, this will implies that the resources need not to be download and save it locally, the user those have the access to the portal will automatically get the resources and those that do not have the access cannot be able to access the resource. The other point to be considered in maintenance is the introduction of the concept of Feedback from the user of the portal. In order to get feedback, each page of the portal should contain links to feedback form including the home page. Another point to consider is the keeping track of journal holding regularly.

10. Conclusion: These are the days to develop subject based system that meet the need of subject based resources rather than multidisciplinary cross searching tool, such as Google. So, considering this in the coming days it is hoped that each and every library would make a vision of using the library portal as a gateways to the libraries services, online help and so on. It is again hope that it will replace the static library web site and dominant among the 21st century technologies that need to be considered by the libraries.
Portal provides the solution to many problems the libraries are facing with the proliferation of the electronic resources. The increasing technical and computer literacy of the users are also forcing the libraries to go for the costly portal presence. One of the main forces behind introduction of library portal is the real time support to the user. That is the creation of environment where the library user can access to the library resources and services when they need it, at any point of time and from any location. Introduction of portal in libraries really will make it a virtual one.

How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanDr. Badan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links ( - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the Open Access Journals Search Engine (OAJSE) (, UGC NET Guide (, Assam Archive ( and LIS Study ( website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Website Pageviews