When one is merely browsing for information or inspiration, a subject specific portal or subject guide may be of service. Portals are gateways to information, are usually built in a hierarchic way – the further you get, the more specific your information. This information can either be gathered by an individual, group or organization, the gathered information is therefore always a personal selection (but in the end – aren’t they all?). This also means that the quality of the portal depends on the person or organization behind it. Keep in to mind that you may be pushed in a certain direction, or that the selection is biased or outdated.
When you need specific information – avoid portals or gateways. They are not an efficient way to find the information you need. However, when you are browsing for information, or just want to know a bit more on a topic, they may be interesting and starting points which direct you to surprising and unexpected information.
A couple of relevant portals or gateways:
- AcademicInfo subjectguides
- IPL2 resources by subject
- Bubl Link catalogue of Internet Reseources
- The WWW Virtual Library
- Government Documents Center (University of Michigan)
- Digital Librarian
Tip: guide to making an academic portal
Pienaar, H. (2003). Design and development of an academic portal. LIBRI, 53(2), 118-129. Link to article: http://www.reference-global.com/doi/pdf/10.1515/LIBR.2003.118