The recombinant library: portals and people

Dempsey, Lorcan. 2003. "The Recombinant Library: Portals and People." Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Library Administration, 39,4; and in Improved Access to Information: Portals, Content Selection, and Digital Information, edited by Sul H. Lee, 103-136. Binghamton, NY: Haworth.


This article explores the design and use of portals in a library environment. It discusses the motivations for building portals, it discusses portal architectures and typology, and it examines the user environment in which portals are being deployed. It argues that portals provide useful integration and presentation services, but that they should be seen as one component of a broader set of services the library is building to engage users and useful resources. It briefly considers the services portals are providing: distributed query or metasearch, personalization, request, OpenURL resolution, alerting, and so on. It considers the emerging need for directory or registry services for such things as collection and service description, policy and rights data, and so on. It discusses the impact of web services and the changing patterns of research and learning on consideration of network information provision and use. It considers library services as part of an increasingly rich systems environment which includes learning or courseware management systems, campus portals, shared services such as authentication, and other systems and services.

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