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November 18, 2002

The Guts of the Forthcoming WebQuest Portal

What perfect timing! I've started to gather information about PHP/SQL packages to support the next leap forward for the WebQuest page. Just last week, the Internet Scout Report people rolled out the Scout Portal Toolkit! I think it's just what I was looking for. Here are the features:

"For a resource portal site to be worthwhile it has to provide significant functionality for the average user looking to locate or learn about valuable online resources. The Portal Toolkit provides a number of site features intended to meet this need.

Cross-Field Searching - A wide variety of metadata may be used to describe a resource. This feature allows users to search across all appropriate fields for a given set of keywords, or to search for resources that only contain (or do not contain) specific terms in specific fields.

Resource Annotations by Users - Portal users can add their own comments about an individual resource. This facility adds value to the resource entries and encourages interaction within the user community. It also allows portal developers to leverage off of their user community to increase the value of the collection, benefitting all concerned.

Intelligent User Agents - This feature allows portal users to specify a set of criteria for resources that fit their interests and then be automatically notified when new resources become available that fit that criteria.

Resource Quality Ratings by Users - This provides a systematic means through which users can share their evaluations of resources, allowing other users to view the resources with the highest rankings. In addition, through this mechanism portal developers can gather aggregate feedback on the resource entries or areas within their collection and resource developers can better assess the strong points of their work and how it compares to other similar resources within their discipline.

Suggested Resource Referrals (Recommender System) - By evaluating ratings and other information entered by users, this feature allows the portal to recommend other resources that may be of interest to a user.

Hot damn!