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PORTALS  January 2002

PORTALS January 2002

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Subject:

Re: Welcome to the portals list

From:

Paul Browning <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Institutional portal discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 9 Jan 2002 22:41:32 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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>
> Welcome to the portals discussion list!
>
> Is your Institution considering implementing a 'portal' over the next =
> twelve months?

An "institutional portal" - I hope. We risk "portal wars" if we don't.

> What do we mean by a 'portal' anyway?

For me the "personalisation" aspect defines it (i.e. it remembers/knows who
you are and the state of your "webtop" the last time you visited).
Amazon.com
and tesco.com are good (and commercially effective) examples.

>
> Please post to this list any news you have of developing portals within =
> the UK.
>
> In order to break the ice, I'll post a brief description of the
> development= s at Nottingham under a separate thread.

Stephen posted a nice overview. I'll respond separately replying
to particular points in that.

Briefly, Bristol arguably has two institutional proto-portal projects -
IRIS and VIOLET.

IRIS = Integrated Research Information System - aspires to be
a Research and Enterprise portal. It was driven by the RAE (we
declined to use the HEFCE RAE software apart from in the final step
of the submission) and built an application using JSP and Oracle
to collate and gather the required information. IRIS is currently
sustained by ReachOut money - we're about to launch an externally
visible Contact Directory (merging e-mail and telephone data for
the first time since the Cretaceous - yay!).

VIOLET = Virtual Interactive On-Line Environment for Teaching. A
six-month (yes, really) feasibility study comparing and contrasting
commercial and bespoke VMLEs. We implemented Blackboard Level 2
and implemented the third "bespoke" VMLE (which built on the
experience of the other two) using Zope. More on VIOLET at:
http://www.bris.ac.uk/is/projects/violet

So we have two potential "portal frameworks" in use - JSP and
Zope (both backed currently by Oracle as the database). It is
probably fair to say that a creative tension exists between
these two "middlewares".

On paper uPortal looks very interesting - a Java framework in
which you can embed XML/XSLT channels (among three other channel/
portlet types) - perhaps some of those channels could be driven
by Zope (to name but one non-Java scripting environment)?

If you have the answer to this question please pipe up!

Paul

--
 The Library, Tyndall Avenue, Univ. of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TJ, UK
   E-mail: [log in to unmask]  URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/

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