The NOVELNY Program : Background Information : Portal Page
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NOVEL Seminar on Library Portals

The NOVEL Steering Committee held a seminar that focussed on NOVEL Initiative V- develop a NOVEL user interface (or portal) that integrates the services and resources brought together under NOVEL.

Mary Jackson, Association of Research Libraries liaison to the ARL Scholars Portal Working Group, described the range of portal features/approaches applicable to information discovery and delivery and how a portal might function in a diverse user community.

Ann Getman, NYS Education Department (SED) Office of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education, discussed how the State Education Department is using technology to provide services and information about the standards, curricula, information resources to administrators, teachers, teacher candidates, parents, students, and the public.

Susan Harrison, Associate Director for Technical and Computer Services, The New York Public Library, The Branch Libraries, spoke on 'Developing a Web Database Aggregator,' a portal that The New York Public Library is in the process of implementing.

During the afternoon session, librarians, library system staff and others had the opportunity to discuss applying portal concepts to libraries, with a particular focus on the options for a NOVEL portal.


Notes from Portal Seminar November 7, 2002
Mary Jackson's presentation

There is no consensus as to what a portal should be
The challenge is to meet the needs of different communities
The major themes that come out in the discussions of portals - discover, capture, manipulate, distribute, and consult
A portal must have a single powerful search capability - fast and of high quality
Searches should be
able to be conducted across formats,
able to be limited by a range of options, ranked, and
able to be organized by subject as needed
Vendors now offering 'portals' as part of their OPAC offering
It will be important to provide training in how and what to search when using a portal
Ann Getman

Administrators, teachers, teacher candidates, parents, students, and the public still need information about the standards, curricula, information resources, etc.

NYSED is committed to using technology to provide services to these groups
Sue Harrison

Described the portal approach the New York Public Library is implementing as they build a web based database aggregator.
Working to bring together the contents of the many databases to which they subscribe using one search engine which will retrieve results across databases


Afternoon Break Out Sessions
In the wrap up session, Mary Jackson reported some of the common issues heard as she and the other speakers visited the various breakout groups.
These issues include:

Will there be one portal with a single server location (a centralized approach) or many portals with many servers around the state? This decision will affect the software chosen, customization, funding sources, and maintenance responsibilities.
Who pays?
How is it maintained?
What should be in the portal and who will make that decision?
Who determines the content?
What should the content be?
What are the priorities?
How will libraries that don't have Z39.50 capabilities and can't connect to the portal be handled?
The importance of standards (including ADA standards)
Issues raised in relation to collaboration?
What range of services will the portal offer, e.g. ILL and virtual reference?
Seamless link to what is needed
How will privacy issues be handled?
PR - getting the information out to the public (branding). Marketing is all-important
easy to use/training for both users and library staff
content - scope of searching capability
authentication versus implementation
'How will we do this?'
Having a thesaurus with a controlled vocabulary
Relevancy of one's search - educating users as to what information that is retrieved is relevant
Comment from Mary Jackson "Might be good to start with the NOVEL databases as a beginning to the portal concept. Important to make Library schools aware of this initiative - they are training 'future' librarians."