Taking it personally

The old personalized web portal wars may have been bloody, but the concept is obviously here to stay. My Yahoo, My AOL, even serenely uncluttered Google plays with personalized searches and feeds.

So why wouldn’t an academic library offer a similar service? A one-stop expandable agglomeration of the kind of information a prof might want to check, such as

  • Is the book I ordered in?
  • What do I have checked out? Do I have to renew anything?
  • Are my reserve readings up?
  • What student submissions are recently posted in my CMS pages?
  • What’s the latest in the journal I’m tracking?
  • What’s the latest in the blog/website I’m tracking?
  • Where’s a shortcut to the databases I always use?
  • Where is that handily categorized batch of my favorite links?
  • What are the upcoming events in the campus feeds I’ve subscribed to?
  • What are my upcoming appointments?
  • Do I have any email?
  • It would take a good amount of integration and design, but we know that feeds and links can be custom-ordered on one page, a page rich in day to day concerns, a page seamlessly blending a user-defined mélange of data.

    Here’s an up & running start: North Carolina State University’s My Library , which brings library account information together with course information, and promises, in the near future, to mix in journal alerts & personal link collections.

    NCSU My Library

    A tool for making collections accessible via web portals, the Internet Scout Project’s Personal Toolkit, is worth taking a look at along these lines. It’s a Mellon-funded open source project geared towards “discipline-based” collections. The D-Lib description of the project lists the following features:

  • Directory of online resources
  • Targeted search in the pertinent research field
  • Discipline-related discussion forum
  • Resource-related discussion forum
  • Current news

    Internet Scout

    “Get all your personalized info in one space”: the tag line for Google’s Sidebar. Much silicon has been spilled for that vision, but it’s still a good one.

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