PEPC 2004: The Conference provides a good snapshot of institutional portal developments. Increasingly, the library and other service organizations have to relate to a wider integration agenda as universities and other organizations aim to build congenial network environments for students and faculty. The library sits alongside access to student records, timetabling resources, the course management system, and so on, in this context. Of interest is the emerging focus on 'portlets', pluggable user interface components and on general web services frameworks to tie things together.

Pan European Portals 2004 takes place against a backdrop of dramatic change in Higher and Further Education. Information infrastructure is being transformed as pilots and experiments in web-enabled applications and portals are integrated in a range of services for tens of thousands of users. Universities and Colleges face a series of potentially bewildering choices and challenges as they navigate this complex landscape. [PEPC 2004: The Conference]
Although billed as 'Pan-European', the conference had good US participation also. Some things I noted:
  • Katie Anstock, business development manager for UK library systems company Talis, argued that libraries should provide services as portlets, that providers should provide machine interfaces through web services, and that the 'library portal' is a misnomer.

  • The Agarwal/Browning paper discusses requirements gathering from users at the University of Bristol. Interestingly, access to library/information resources did not make it into the top 5 services.

  • There are several good case studies (Bristol, LSE, Rutgers, Teesside, and elsewhere).
One of the keynotes was given by Prashant Chopra, Manager, Case Labs, Case Western Reserve University. Prashant is involved in the CampusEAI initiative which is a consortium of US universities pooling resources in creation of quality-assured service components (portlets) in a community-source model.
CampusEAI Consortium provides a Depository of supported portlets/channels for Oracle Portal and uPortal for those institutions that want to leverage the development resources of the Consortium's member institutions to decrease the time and cost associated with their portal deployments and ongoing portlet/channel development. To learn more about CampusEAI Consortium's Portlet/Channel Depository click here. [CampusEAI Home]

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