ARCHIVED: What is a web portal?
Web portals provide a single point of access to a variety of content and core services, and ideally offer a single sign-on point. Portals give you a managed online experience, and can be particularly helpful as a start and return point for those new to the web. Portal content is dynamically managed through databases, application windows, and sometimes cookies. Portals often include calendars and to-do lists, discussion groups, announcements and reports, searches, email and address books, and access to news, weather, maps, and shopping, as well as bookmarks. Web portals often organize information into channels, customizable page containers where specific information or an application appears. Channels make it easy to locate information of interest by categorizing content.
Web portals offer advantages over home pages because they can offer user-specific, customized views. For example, a university's web portal could offer customized, specific content available to you based on your roles (e.g., faculty, student, staff, administrator). Roles help the portal determine your privileges for reading, searching, updating, adding channels, and personalizing content. The portal uses the information stored in the roles to offer the appropriate content and service choices. You can then create further, more specific content organization by selecting from the personalized material and services, thus making the portal work the way you do.
For information about OneStart, Indiana University's portal, anyone may visit:http://onestart.iu.edu/
However, to access complete IU content, you will need to log in with an IU Network ID.
For examples of other portals, see the list maintained by PortalHQ at:http://www.portalhq.com/
The Java in Administration Special Interest Group (JA-SIG) is developing uPortal, an open-standard portal project for college and university campuses. For more information, see:http://www.jasig.org/uportal
Some of the information in this document comes from an article in PC Magazine Online.
Last modified on June 01, 2009.