Libraries are currently experiencing a diversification in their roles as information management centres to include the provision of access to the Internet. Much more can be done than simply sitting down library patrons at a terminal and leaving them to explore the Internet on their own, and a library's website can include more than an online link to their catalogue and a list of opening hours. It can be a starting point, a portal or gateway, for patrons to begin exploring the Internet, find Internet resources, connect to a social network, and be informed about the varied resources and services a library offers. Library portals, at their minimum, tend to provide a list of Internet links to resources, often organized by subject categorization of some form. Other features may include opportunities for socialization such as bulletin boards, online tutorials about the Internet, access to an OPAC, links to other libraries, and more. Some larger libraries are also choosing to provide some form of customized access to the Internet, where each user can manipulate the library portal page to only include information of interest to them, and perhaps a customized layout, to create a unique access point for each user.
This website provides two bibliographies with critical abstracts of journal articles, firstly on the topic of information management, and secondly on the more specific information management area of library creation and development of Internet portals. Links to articles are provided where a full-text version is available via the Internet, however, this is often through the Proquest online database which offers access to subscribed users only (such as current QUT staff and students). The Library Links page includes extensive lists of annotated links of libraries with an Internet portal, Internet portals designed to cater to librarians, selected major Australian libraries, and also some professional Australian library organizations.
Critical Bibliography - Information Management 5 resources defining information management
Critical Bibliography - Library Internet Portals 15 resources on their creation and development
Library Links (annotated)
Links to Libraries with an Internet Portal
Links to Internet Portals for Librarians
Links to Australian Libraries
Links to Australian Library Organizations
Current IM Issues: Resource Links (annotated)
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An analytical article, still an unpublished draft, which gives the author's definitions of various terms, often in comparison with near synonymous terms. Lacks an examination of alternative definitions of terms by other scholars of information management. Begins by discussing the definitions of, and distinctions between, "information", "documents", and "records", and then contrasts "records" with "electronic records". Having defined these basic terms, the concept of "information management" is defined through comparison with "records management", and "information technology", though not particularly clearly, with the term "information technology" the most neatly defined of the three. The brief discussion of the importance of information management is well written and succinct.
Begins with a succinct but considered statement of information management as arising from two traditions, "document" and "computational", and then discusses the complementary nature of these two streams. Also includes an interesting but unfortunately brief look at the shifting focus in university education from library science to information science, and debates the validity of the 'Information Paradigm' assumptions suggested by Apostle & Raymond (1997). The discussion of the influence of ASIS which follows does not flow very smoothly, and also appears strangely tacked on to the article. This section could easily be omitted, for a much smoother progression to the next section which details the complex nature of the "landscape" of Information Science, which could have used some elaboration and support of statements. Includes references.
Explores the concept of knowledge management and its definition in the three domains; library and information science (LIS), process engineering, and organizational theory. In the LIS context, it is argued that knowledge management is here simply information management with a new name. The taxonomy of the three knowledge management positions relies heavily on summarising and quoting other authors' work, and does not add significantly in quality to the succint definitions in the introduction. The second half of the article is an interesting and novel examination of the competition between and use of the three views of knowledge management in the context of universities, health-care, and government policy-making. Includes extensive references.
A historically focused examination of the origins of the "information economy", its definition, and the rise of information management and the information profession. Views the information economy as arising in the 1920's, and gives supporting arguments and evidence. Thoroughly grounded work with references to pioneering or notable studies in information as a profession such as those by Machlup, Porat, and Bell. An interesting and readable historical overview of the rise of information management. Includes extensive references and bibliography.
This article argues that one cannot manage knowledge, and that what is actually occuring is a variation of information management. The distinction between the terms "knowledge" and "information" is presented as a very fine one, but definitions are nonetheless attempted. The author fluctuates between declaring knowledge management is impossible, and then explaining how it occurs, and also saying there is no real distinction between knowledge and information management, and then providing definitions, in a very inconsistent way which undermines the flow of her argument.
Rather than being a portal designed by a library for users, the portal reviewed, LibraryHQ.com, is a corporate website aspiring to be "the" portal for librarians. A brief evaluative overview of LibraryHQ.com's content is given, with the reviewer particularly approving the user-friendly Classified Ads page and the Message Forum. The discussion of the corporate business perspective of LibraryHQ.com is slanted, with a disapproving air towards the corporate backing of the website and its advertising and pushing of particular products, an attitude more critical than is perhaps deserved, given the portal is, after all, a business endeavour, not a public service.
Study of the implementation of the Cornell University Library Gateway. The high focus on project management makes rather dry reading, and the concentration on the case study gateway is to the detriment of more general conclusions about gateway implementation. Overall, the article reads like a presentation for Cornell University administrators. The section summarizing the benefits of the gateway for users and the library organization is of more general interest.
Details the role libraries play as providers of community information files and services, now also done in an elecronic format over the Internet. Discusses the inclusion on library web sites (portals) of community information databases, digital collections highlighting ethnic communities, and the possibility of libraries hosting community organization websites (schools, nonprofit organizations, etc.). A good illustration of how the role the library plays as a community centre can be projected into an online service. References to URLs of sites which further discuss community information as an area for expansion on library websites are a useful addition.
An excellent in-depth look at the variety of information that can be included on a library portal website. Goes well beyond the standard suggestion of including Internet links categorized by subject, and suggests inclusion of features such as library virtual tours, calendars of events, audio-visual materials, book clubs, incorporation of relevant advertising, FAQS, "Hot Item" advisories to notify patrons of new or interesting books, tutorials, and more. Inclusion of URLs of library websites that illustrate the features mentioned is quite high, but smoothly done and with fairly selective restraint.
Little original material, mostly focuses on providing descriptions of various library portal websites, more heavily done than in the above article. Gives examples of general library portals and how they divide resources by subject areas, discusses the role of library portals in relation to users, gives examples of "information cluster" portals which group together library resources and website links by subject area, and briefly gives examples of library websites which include online documents and indexes and databases. A large number of library portals are listed which are designed to focus specifically on the subject areas of genealogy and architecture.
This case study of the customized and personalized web portals of the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library, "Library On Call", gives an excellent overview of the process of developing customizable library web portals. The author draws a distinction between the terms "customized" portals, where a number of pre-packaged web portals for user groups are offered by the central server, and "personalized" portals, where there is a high level of user selection and manipulation of elements for inclusion in their own unique portal, with the case study library offering both approaches. The process of development is considered with attention to assessing the needs of the user group, identifying and evaluating resources, implementing the system, access problems encountered, and future planned developments. Inclusion of URLs for the various library and technology sites mentioned would have been useful, but otherwise the article is very comprehensive and readable. It is interesting to note that the case study library reportedly uses Dublin Core metadata on its webpages to aid standardization and location of pages.
The main emphasis of this article is on 'digital librarianship' and Web design, covering web portals as a part of this. The article covers the topics of metadata standards, creating a sense of community online, the purpose of portals, building virtual communities, the convenience of web portals, quality assurance tools, patron profiling, and a quick summary on how to make a virtual library viable. The relatively broad areas covered in this article means that no section gets detailed coverage, but the article offers a good overview of digital library design issues for those new to the concept.
The review of LibrarySpot offers a good objective analysis of its features, with a focus on their relative precision verus recall. Library Spot is a small commercial site, optimistically aimed at catering for both librarians and end-users. LibrarySpot includes a features section, and three separate link collections (with no original content); links to library websites, a reference link section, and links to electronic texts. The reviewer uses the Internet Public Library and Librarian's Index to the Internet as benchmarks, and concludes that the only areas LibrarySpot excels in are the features section, which includes original articles reviewing topical websites of interest, and the reference link section (Reference Desk), with its high precision of resources. These opinions appear well-considered and are given with supporting examples and explanations.
While not specifically library focused, the basic design rules mentioned (simplicity of design, layered approaches for different user levels, and the importance of feedback) are good points to consider in any web portal design. The discussion of funding a portal (primarily focused on advertising) is an issue rarely mentioned in discussion of library portals, is covered well, and would be of interest to corporate library portal designers and managers.
A disappointingly brief and superficial review of one of the major Internet-library portals. Blandly descriptive rather than evaluative in content, with the conclusions unsupported by any evidence or arguments. Descibes the content categories of the reference section as "sensible [and] intuitive" with no attempted discussion of how the website copes with resources overlapping in subject area or "lost" patrons who stray into the wrong category, e.g. clients unsure of the distinction between "Arts & Humanities" and "Social Sciences". Better to check out The Internet Public Library Ready Reference Collection for yourself.
In this article, Ryan gives good, practical advice on creating a library Internet portal specifically aimed at teenagers, and lists some do's and don'ts based on her experience. While following these recommendations will admittedly not guarantee a "cool" website, it should help ensure the creation of a site that loads quickly, has useful links for teenagers, includes ways for teens to discuss books and other media, and is low on structural hierarchies to access links or resources. The author makes the implicit assumption that teenagers require a dedicated, differently designed library Internet portal than do adult library patrons, and the article reflects this slant. Overall, the article gives an excellent overview of points to consider when designing a dedicated teenager Internet portal.
This article provides a starting point for consideration of university libraries offering user-customizable interfaces for their library and Internet portals. Only a very small sample of such customizable interfaces suited for libraries are considered, five in total, with a brief overview of the features offered by each system given, as well as technical information on the setup of the interface systems. The listing of features offered by the various systems may be of interest to professionals interested in creating a library gateway, however, the emphasis of the article is on offering user-customization of the interface for an already existing gateway, with the author's recommendation being to borrow and customize the existing code available from VCU, UW, and NC State. Little critical comparison of the relative merits of the different systems is offered, and the author's preference for the NC State's system is given without supporting arguments or evidence.
An interesting account of the Nashville State Tech Library's incorporation of links to Internet resources into firstly its homepage, then into its web-based OPAC. The rather haphazard beginnings and implementation of these activities can be read as a warning of how not to go about adding links to library web sites and catalogues; with stumbling trial and error rather than a planned effort including research and testing prior to implementation. Over time they clearly learnt from their early mistakes, and the author appears quite proud of their expanded online catalogue and its popularity with both students and staff. No references are included, even in the section detailing the criteria used by the library to evaluate Web resources, an example of the library's unwillingness to draw upon other's work in their project, or their ignorance of it.
Gives practical, common sense guidelines for selecting and organizing collections of web resources, suggesting consideration of standards of content, coherence, and functionality. The purpose of the standards of coherence and functionality is presented as being to ensure access to aggregated resources. Considers the possibility of libraries linking to existing aggregations of resources as well as, or instead of, creating their own web resource collection. A good theoretical article which specifically focuses on the function of a portal as providing an organised access to web links and resources (as opposed to providing social functions, or information on library resources). Includes references.
Enthusiastically tries to sell the concept of user-personalizable library portals to the reader. Quite one-sided with little examination of possible downsides to the "MyLibrary" concept. Gives a positive overview of the "MyLibrary" (user-personalizable library portal) concept, how it can benefit a library and the users, and discusses the introduction of the "MyLibrary" interface at VCU, Cal. Poly., UCLA, and other libraries. Includes a list of links to pages presumably offering user-personalizable portals, though this is not explicitly stated, and some e-mail contact addresses of some associated library staff.
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Last updated on 3rd October 2002.