Bob Jensen's Threads on Knowledge Portals

Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Fathom users will have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with the leading experts in their field. Fathom's unique architecture will provide a powerful "search and explore capability" that will allow users to follow their interests, independently or with expert guidance, across the widest possible range of subjects. 


Useful Devils


Accounting Standards Vortals

Portals in Higher Education



Miscellaneous Examples of Knowledge Portals

How a University Can Build Knowledge Portals

Library and Law Portals

The Brain

Library Machine    

Audio Portals

Talking To and Listening To Computers Via Telephone

Cal Berkeley's Labor Research Portal 

Open Knowledge Initiative and Open Courseware --- 
Bob Jensen's OKI and OCW threads are at 

In a Nutshell:  Authoring Design and Software for the Web --- 

"Useful Devils," by Mark C. Taylor, Educause Review, July/August 2000 --- 

This is a heavy duty article that I think every educator should read with care from beginning to end.  It deals with very controversial issues beginning with the first " modern university" (The University of Berlin) that commenced in 1810. 

Immanuel Kant developed the blueprint for this university in a work entitled The Conflict of the Faculties, published in 1798. Kant began his analysis by arguing: 

 Whoever it was that first hit on the notion of a university and proposed that a public institution of this kind be established, it was not a bad idea to handle the entire content of learning (really, the thinkers devoted to it) by mass production, so to speak—by a division of labor, so that for every branch of the sciences there would be a public teacher or professor appointed as its trustee, and all of these together would form a kind of learned community called a university (or higher school). The university would have a certain autonomy (since only scholars can pass judgment on scholars as such) and accordingly it would be authorized to perform certain functions through its faculties

In this remarkably prescient passage, Kant associates higher education with mass production and, by extension, with what eventually becomes the logic of Fordism. Accordingly, the university is structured like an assembly line with discrete divisions and departments turning out uniform products with predetermined values. The curriculum and the education of students are linear processes, which are programmed by the producer. University professors are divided between so-called higher and lower faculties. The “higher” faculties are law, medicine, and theology, which represent what we today call professional schools. It is important to note that the university Kant designed is supported by the state. The purpose of the higher faculties is to provide the educated citizens that the government needs to maintain a functional society. The “lower” faculty, which Kant defines as philosophical, comprises what we now label the arts and sciences. The higher faculties are charged with providing practical education, whereas the responsibility of the lower faculty is disinterested inquiry and critical reflection ... 

There really is too much in this article to capture in brief quotations.  But I will quote the closing paragraph:

Change is never easy and always threatening. Yet change is what keeps institutions as well as people alive. Unfortunately, no institution is more resistant to change than the college and university. Perhaps it has always been so, but now time seems to be running out. If colleges and universities do not overcome their smug satisfaction with how they do business, the Michael Milkens of the world will indeed eat their lunch. The challenge that educators face is to turn the useful devils of business and technology to their own ends. If usefulness is a devil, it’s a devil we must learn to dance with or educational institutions will become more obsolete than they already are. This is neither a threat nor an ultimatum; it is just a fact—a brute fact. And it’s time to face this fact directly and honestly.

Vortals are vertical portals that provide information from only a thin vertical section of the web. For example, a vortal might search only those sites on public accounting. VerticalNet ( offers portals to industries including communications and advanced technologies. Vortals typically do link to specific topics as deeply as knowledge portals.

An example of a vortal --- Export Vortal -- US Department of Commerce 

Another example of a vortal is 

The ManagementFirst portal is open to all practising managers, business professionals, and management researchers. We call you "thinkers in management".

To meet your information needs, ManagementFirst has produced and resourced a collection of current research, summaries, guides and advice in our ManagementFirst Expert Channels. These are expert team-lead compilations of the best content from specific subsections of the field of management.

Each Expert Channel has a basic menu of content, which includes:

Find out more about ManagementFirst:

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." (From The Raven by Poe)
Lotus Development Corporation is creating a Knowledge Vortal on Management 

Technically, Raven is a standalone knowledge server that integrates the key components required for a strategic knowledge management infrastructure. Using several leading-edge technologies, Raven: 

"Raven" will provide a single portal that will allow end users to find and discover useful information and applications on a given subject; make the user aware of other knowledgeable people in the company; and organize all related tasks, teams and projects. From an organizational standpoint, "Raven" provides virtual places where people and content are brought together to improve company responsiveness, speed innovation, enhance employee competency and increase efficiency. "Raven" leverages the Lotus Domino messaging and Web applications infrastructure, making it easier for a company to build and deploy business-focused knowledge management applications on top of their collaborative infrastructures. In addition, "Raven" capitalizes on IBM's unique experiences and technologies in data and information management.

"Our integrated approach will allow customers to benefit from IBM's expertise in leveraging information and learning and from Lotus' leadership in collaboration. This will enable customers to implement solutions that fully optimize their knowledge assets," said Scott Smith, Managing Principal, Global Knowledge Management Services, IBM Global Services. "Together, Lotus and IBM are uniquely qualified to provide the technology, process and organizational services to offer our customers the full breadth of knowledge management and e-business solutions."

Raven Allows Organizations to Discover What They Know Through People, Places & Things

Today's complex, global organizations suffer from geographical and time constraints, slow diffusion of information, employee turnover and the inability to find the right people with the right information. "Raven" builds upon Domino's messaging and groupware infrastructure to create a fully integrated knowledge management platform that fosters successful knowledge creation and sharing by bringing people and content together in a virtual collaborative setting. "Raven's" set of integrated services extend the value of Domino by cataloging content and people; determining value, meaning and relationships; delivering the right information to the right people at the right place and time; and providing communities with a tailored environment in which to work.

"Raven" is a single integrated product aligned under the Lotus theme of "People" (expertise location), "Places" (portal) and "Things" (content catalog). 

From InformationWeek Online January 4, 2001

Raven Won't Fly To KM's Rescue

A year after promising customers a software suite to make corporate "knowledge" indexable and searchable, IBM's Lotus division is preparing to release the main component. But experts warn that the software, called Raven, will be immature and incomplete, especially when compared with Lotus's initial description of a single knowledge management command center.

Lotus will introduce a component called Discovery Server next week designed to catalog documents from various information sources—such as document management systems, corporate databases or Web sites—in a searchable database, as well as derive information about the authors of those documents to catalog their expertise. The other half of Raven, portal software called K- Station, was introduced last September at Lotusphere Berlin.

Still, questions about what Raven does, how it works, and how it will plug into existing information systems have barely begun to be answered. Early users of knowledge management products from other vendors are taking a gradual approach, focusing on departmental business processes and introducing technology tailored to those processes.

"We explicitly downplay the technology, and get the community to focus on the kinds of interactions that are going to be important to this team or group or community," said John Old, an IT manager who oversees knowledge management at Texaco. "We talk about technology once they figure out how they want to really operate." – David Drucker

More on knowledge management: 

Two Popular Accounting Standards Vortals

Arthur Andersen's Accounting Research Manager (after a free 30 trial, the cost is over $2,000 per year for a single user) --- 
Academic pricing is not mentioned at the Web site, but some universities might possibly negotiate lower pricing.

Accounting Research ManagerTM is a comprehensive financial reporting knowledgebase that provides materials designed to help solve your most pressings issues. Continually updated, it is the most timely, complete, interpretive resource for your financial reporting needs.

PwC's Comperio Accounting Research Manager ($1,400 in the U.S. and considerably cheaper in other nations, but the comprehensive version covering all territories is $3,340)

Comperio is the most comprehensive on-line library of financial reporting and assurance literature in the world. Over 1,500 financial executives from around the world use Comperio on a daily basis. Comperio content includes AICPA, DIG, EITF, FASB, IAS, ISB and the SEC as well as pronouncements and standards from Australia, Belgium, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

With Comperio, the answers you need are always available - right now, right at your fingertips. There is no software to install - just go to the Comperio website and start researching!

The entire online library can be immediately accessed by browsing a pronouncement or topic directly, or by searching the entire database for key words, topics or terms.

Visit the Comperio product information site at . You will find the necessary forms to order Comperio today or to request a 30-day free trial.

An Internet/Web portal with 14 channels on marketing and e-Commerce --- 

What is a Web portal?

Answer from 


A "one-stop" place of information and services for some topical area or grouping of related topical areas.  Following on the heels of my featured knowledge portal in my August 22, 2000  New Bookmarks comes a featured review of "Portals in Higher Education," by Michael Looney and Peter Lyman, Educause Review, July/August 2000 --- 

A few selected quotations from the Looney and Lyman article are given below:

Let’s start with a simple definition, and then explore some of the variations of portals. At the most basic level, portals gather a variety of useful information resources into a single, “one-stop” Web page, helping the user to avoid being overwhelmed by “infoglut” or feeling lost on the Web. But since no two people have the same interests, portals allow users to customize their information sources by selecting and viewing only the information they find personally useful. Some portals also let you personalize your portal by including private information (such as your stock portfolio or checking account balance). Put simply, an institution’s portal is designed to make an individual’s Web experience more efficient and thereby make the institution as a whole more productive and responsive.

. . .

The two most popular consumer portals are AOL and Yahoo! AOL ( ) has over twentyfive million users averaging 12 minutes per session.2 Yahoo! ( ) has over twentytwo million users averaging nearly 25 minutes per session and is the classic directory portal that most other portals have imitated. Portals often seem similar from one site to another because publishers of generic consumer information, such as InfoSpace ( ) and MyWay (  ), license the same information services to many dot.coms. companies may license these information to companies as B2B (business-to-business) enterprise or use them on student-oriented web pages as a B2C (business-to-consumer) enterprise.

. . . 

According to the Delphi Group’s published survey results, 55 percent of Fortune 500 companies are already using an enterprise portal or have plans to develop one in the near future. Enterprise portals are intended to assist employees to be more efficient and productive by centralizing access to needed data services—for example, competitive information, manufacturing and accounting data, 401K information, and other human relations data. Enterprise portals often include news, weather, and sports feeds as a benefit for the employee, giving these portals the appearance of a community portal.

Examples of campus portals:

Some campuses have already started developing educational portals to accomplish these goals. The University of Washington has developed MyUW ( ). This portal site uses information in innovative ways that enhance the educational mission, personalizing student data (student debit-card totals, student course information) and providing faculty with ideas and resources for new uses of technology for teaching.  The UW portal seems to have the mission of creating an online community encompassing a diverse and complex on-and off-campus environment. And the MyUCLA site (  ), one of the oldest in higher education, provides a classic directory-style portal, ranging from new modes of accessing campus administrative data to relevant feeds from the UCLA Daily Bruin. 

My main objection to a portal is that is requires user log-in.  This makes it difficult to locate documents within using search engines like Google.  I might never have been "discovered" if my Web site was instead a portal requiring a log-in at 

"Why Are Portalized University Home Pages Rare? by Joe St Sauver, Syllabus, March 2004, pp. 21-24 --- 

What's a Portal Anyway?

A good defining answer to "What's a portal?" has always been elusive, but operationally it is a Web site that:

Straight forwward, secure Web sites that many have deployed --- sites that allow users to perform administrative tasks online such as registering for classes or looking up grades --- are generally not considered to be portals, because users will not routinely log in to sites of that sort unless they have a specific administrative task to accomplish, and it is extremely unlikely that anyone would make one of these secure administrative Web sites their default home page.

"Facing the Portal:  A conversation with Annie Stunden (University of Winconsin-Madison's CIO)," Syllabus, March 2004, pp. 8-14 ---

Syllabus: What would you say are the most important lessons learned from your experience with your portal?

Annie Studnen: We learned that on a campus as big as ours, fostering the collaboration of the campus community is one of the most important things, and one of the hardest. We’re a very distributed environment so people can sort of do what they want to do. There’s very little top-down direction that dictates what you have to do. Our chancellor was certainly interested in having a portal, or at least something that looked like a portal, on campus. But we needed to champion this actively, to get people willing to put the information that they felt ultimately responsible for into the portal. That was the hardest part. We know how to do the technology. The people work is harder. Folks on campus felt that if they put the information that they were responsible for—think about student records information, for example—in the portal, that they were, in some way, losing control.

An issue still floats out there about how the portal is governed. Student Affairs manages the student information system, Finance manages the financial system, and the Graduate School manages the grants management system. But who manages the portal? Is it that awful technology organization you never trust? —Read: “Why should they be calling the shots on this?”

Well, if the central technology organization is not calling the shots, in concert with some kind of campuswide advisory or governance body, where else can you put the responsibility so that the portal does not become one-department centric? And the whole point is to keep the portal a campus portal, not a teaching and learning portal, not a student information system portal, not a payroll portal, but a campus portal. This remains a challenge, because distributed governance is hard. Regardless, our campus portal is becoming more and more accepted—we’re getting something like 70,000 hits a day.

The best and most imaginative campus portal did not survive.  I contend that the Fathom knowledge portal at Columbia University extended well beyond the objectives and strategies of other campus portals do date.  The Fathom portal was leading partners such as the Smithsonian and the New York Public Library for heavy input of knowledge into the portal.  It was called Fathom --- 

An Internet/Web portal with 14 channels on marketing and e-Commerce --- 

Fathom:  A wonderful, albeit failed, opportunity for looking into the crystal ball of knowledge portals: 

Until it failed, there were are over 60,000 authenticated references to experts and this knowledge portal is growing exponentially.  Fathom deepened as academia's top knowledge portal ---  

Fathom's member institutions present their immense wealth of knowledge across every area of interest—from business to global affairs, from arts to technology.

Fathom brings you:

Lectures, interviews, articles, performances and exhibits by faculty, researchers and curators from our member institutions. Reference content spanning all disciplines and fields of study. Trails, a new visual way of organizing knowledge thematically by topic. You can use Trails to intuitively navigate content according to your own interests. A community of knowledge seekers gathering in Fathom's Forums. Online courses from Fathom's course partners, offering the best in online education from top research institutions. Recommended books and products to deepen your knowledge. 

Fathom's Online Course Demonstration and Learn About Knowledge Trails

Knowledge is never neatly organized.

Founders and Partners of Fathom are High in Prestige

Member Institutions
Columbia University
Cambridge University Press
London School of Economics
The New York Public Library
University of Chicago
University of Michigan
The British Library 
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Victoria & Albert Musume
Science Museum
Natural History Museum
American Film Institute 

Fathom, a for-profit spin-off, implements one aspect of Columbia's three-part digital media strategy, which also includes Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning and Columbia Media Enterprises.

Fathom will address the most serious weakness of information on the Worldwide Web, the inability to authenticate the bulk of its content. All Fathom original content will be authenticated, meaning that the knowledge will be attributed to the appropriate educational or cultural institution and its faculty or professional staff. Fathom's standards of academic and editorial integrity will be monitored by the Fathom Academic Council, a panel of selected senior faculty and curators from participating institutions, which will be chaired by Columbia Provost Jonathan Cole.

Offering the best free content of universities, libraries, and museums, Fathom will enable a worldwide audience of students, working adults, and lifelong learners to explore subjects of professional or personal interest. Much of Fathom's content has never been available outside of the participating institutions.

Examples of Fathom content currently in development include:

A "Main Street" for knowledge and education, Fathom will include a comprehensive directory of related online courses offered by universities and cultural institutions, plus textbooks and other academic titles, specialized periodicals, individual articles and other publications, CD-ROMs, academic travel, and learning resources. Users will enroll in online courses through Fathom, with tuition fees, accreditation, and admission policies set at the discretion of the offering university or cultural institution.

Fathom users will have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with the leading experts in their field. Fathom's unique architecture will provide a powerful "search and explore capability" that will allow users to follow their interests, independently or with expert guidance, across the widest possible range of subjects.

Yahoo! Internet Life Named Fathom as 'Best Learning Portal'

Unique Interactive Knowledge Site Selected as One of the 100 Best Web Sites for 2001 NEW YORK, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Yahoo! Internet Life has named Fathom ( ) as the ``Best Learning Portal'' in its 5th Annual ``Top of the Net'' issue (on sale December 19). As the leading consumer lifestyle magazine covering the Internet, Yahoo! Internet Life praised Fathom's dynamic e-knowledge site for its vast collection of intellectual resources, convenience, degree of user interactivity, and prestigious member institutions. These institutions include Columbia University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Cambridge University Press, The British Library, The New York Public Library, The University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, American Film Institute (AFI), RAND, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum (UK), and The Natural History Museum (UK).

Award-winning Web sites appear in the ``100 Best Sites for 2001'' feature of Yahoo! Internet Life's January 2001 issue. The sites were chosen not only for excellence in past and present performance, but because the magazine's editors believe they represent the best of the Internet as it will unfold in the upcoming year.

As the ``Best Learning Portal,'' Fathom offers visitors a wide array of online education opportunities. Fathom provides visitors with access to free content, including lectures, interviews and articles, from the world's leading creators and sources of knowledge. Visitors can also register and enroll in online courses, offered for a fee, that complement their specific interests, as well as participate in provocative online forums with experts on favorite subjects. All content on the site meets Fathom's exemplary quality standards and is authenticated, meaning that the knowledge is attributable to the appropriate academic or cultural institution and its faculty or research staff.

``It is unprecedented for us to bestow an accolade of this nature to a site that has not even officially launched,'' said Yahoo! Internet Life Editor Cree McCree. ``We thought it would have been remiss not to include Fathom because we truly believe Fathom is going to become the leader in its field.''

``We are honored to be recognized by such an esteemed publication,'' said Ann Kirschner, Ph.D., Fathom's President and CEO. ``Our goal has always been to create a site that gives users greater access to some of the world's rich intellectual resources and offers a unique, quality educational experience. It is extremely satisfying to know that Yahoo! Internet Life has selected Fathom as one of the Web's top sites.''

About Fathom

Fathom Knowledge Network Inc. is a unique interactive enterprise dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge. The company's Web site ( ) offers unprecedented opportunities for discovery through authenticated free content, overseen by an advisory board selected from its members, as well as related knowledge and education e-commerce opportunities. Composed of the world's leading universities, museums, libraries, publishers and research institutions, Fathom includes Columbia University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Cambridge University Press, The British Library, The New York Public Library, The University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, American Film Institute (AFI), RAND, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum (UK), and The Natural History Museum (UK).

About Yahoo! Internet Life

Yahoo! Internet Life ( ), the world's largest consumer lifestyle magazine covering the Internet, is a monthly publication of Ziff Davis Media. With its mission to entertain, engage, educate and empower Internet enthusiasts, Yahoo! Internet Life serves the New American Consumer(TM). Reaching one in nine of all daily Internet users in America and read monthly by over 5.3 million people, Yahoo! Internet Life chronicles the culture, content and community of the Internet. In January 2001, the four year-old magazine will surpass a circulation of 1.1 million copies per month, solidifying its place as one of the fastest-growing magazines in the history of publishing. Notable accolades include recognition as one of Advertising Age's Best Magazines of 1998; a Circulation Excellence Award from Circulation Management magazine; inclusion as one of Folio magazine's Top 10 Launches for the 90s; as three consecutive Top 10 Hottest Magazine citations from Adweek; and an award from Capell's Circulation Report as Top 10 Best Performer of 1999.

SOURCE: Fathom Knowledge Network Inc

Knowledge@Wharton ---  

In a world where markets change in nanoseconds, knowledge is a source of competitive advantage. Knowledge@Wharton is an Internet-based guide through this volatile environment.

Knowledge@Wharton is a bi-weekly online resource that offers the latest business insights, information and research from a variety of sources. These include analysis of current business trends, interviews with industry leaders and Wharton faculty, articles based on the most recent business research, book reviews, conference and seminar reports, links to other web sites and so on. The web site presents information in layers so that users can pursue their interests to whatever depth they wish. An in-depth searchable database of related articles and research abstracts allows access to information through simple mouse clicks.

Miscellaneous Examples of Knowledge Portals

Important Knowledge Portals for Business Educators and Researchers
Some of the portals added to 


Rutgers University's Research & Reference Gateway: Research Guides: Business 

While the Dana Library is designated the business research library of the Rutgers University Libraries, materials in business and related areas can also be found at the Alexander Library, with its strong United States, foreign and international documents collections; the Kilmer Library, serving the School of Business in New Brunswick; the Robeson Library, which supports the School of Business in Camden; and the School of Management and Labor Relations Library, which focuses on industrial relations.

For example, the Accounting option above leads you to the following links:

Page Contents:


Harvard Business School's Project Finance

I am repeating a notice on Harvard's Project Finance that I put in the March 16 edition of New Bookmarks, because this will one day be a very important portal even though its glossary disappoints me at the moment.

Harvard Business School Project Finance Portal 
     (the HBS Project Finance Portal's Glossary is at
      I found this glossary to be very disappointing from a portal that is in other respects outstanding.)
     A better set if glossaries can be found at 

Some of Harvard's Project Finance Portal links are called "General Project Finance Links" at 

Global Development Project Finance & Project Management Information  This site is designed to assist project sponsors, developers, service providers, and other professionals in completing project finance transactions.  It also contains 1000's of useful links.

Institute of International Project Financing

International Project Finance Association

Project Finance Glossary  PrivateFinance-i is the ultimate resource for online PFI/PPP news, research and market information, and supports business-to-business services by uniting buyers and sellers and enabling online transactions.

Turin Group

The main Project Finance Website is at 


The University of Kansas International Business Resource Connection 

The IBRC, a business outreach program of the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) within the School of Business at the University of Kansas, was created to encourage trade opportunities and expand international business education. Through strategic alliances with major partners (including the U.S. Department of Education and the Kauffman Foundation), private sector affiliates, faculty and students at the University of Kansas, the IBRC assists small and medium-sized Kansas companies explore available trade opportunities and broaden international business skills. Particular emphasis is placed on the emerging role of electronic communication resources (the Internet) in developing international business opportunities for firms located in the heartland of the United States.

Also, don't forget Paul Pacter's great international accounting site at 


Helpers for Marketing Students and Educators --- --- 

Home Page

Market Scope
The Ivory Tower

Marketing Resources


Marketing FAQs

Other marketing links can be found at 


One opinion on the top 10 investment resource sites. --- 

Top Ten Financial Portals

     1. Yahoo Finance
     2. MSN MoneyCentral
     4Wall Street City
     5Inter@ctive Investor
     6Motley Fool
     7Wall Street Research Net
   10Silicon Investor

Other top investment and finance portals

Yahoo's picks of the top finance web sites --- 

Top 50 Financial Websites --- 

Advanced Stock Information (note that ratios are available)

Enter a symbol and click "go!" to get the following information: Stock Prices, Options, Stock Splits, Charts, Live Stock Quotes, Stock Performance, Earnings Estimates, Analyst Opinions, Company Performance, Stock Valuation, Broker Reports, Company Profile, Earnings Release Dates, Latest News, Fundamentals, Intraday Charts, Forum Discussions, Technical Charts, Annual Reports, Significant Events, Institutional Ownership, Financial Ratios, Insider Trading, SEC Filings, Financial Statements, Stock Dividends, Competition, Momentum Rating, Management Discussion, Conference Calls, Short Interest, and more.

From the Scout Report --- 

The owners of this lucrative URL address have sponsored a Web directory created by a "team of 50 research analysts [that] has sifted through the Web to find relevant sites for our handcrafted Directory." All Websites in this 30-category directory have been annotated. The annotations, however, tend to be very terse and a bit vague. First time users are encouraged to skim over the excellent site guide, which gives a step-by-step manual for using the site as well as in-depth explanations of the terminology and taxonomy.

Financial Risk Links --- 

Center for Financial Research & Analysis, Inc.

CFRA, Inc. Launches Free On-Line Service for Academic Community

Rockville, MD - August 1 - The Center for Financial Research & Analysis (CFRA, Inc.), a leading provider of independent research to over 2,000 institutional investors, will now offer an academic version of its product to professors and their students. Since there is no cost for this service, its use is restricted for research and teaching purposes.

What's included with the Academic Version?

1. Access to all educational pieces in our database. 2. Access to selected company-specific reports that focus on quality of earnings issues 3. Weekly e-mail notification of new companies added to the database

Who qualifies for this service and how can you sign up?

All professors teaching courses in financial accounting, auditing, and finance qualify. To sign up, click on the URL  and register. Then sign and fax the agreement to (301) 984 8617. Once activated, you will have access to the Academic Version of CFRA's database.

About CFRA

CFRA has become known internationally for its pioneering research ferreting out companies with operational problems that use unusual accounting practices to camouflage such practices. Founded in 1994 by Dr. Howard M. Schilit following a 20 year career as an accounting professor (author of FINANCIAL SHENANIGANS: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks and Fraud in Financial Reports)  CFRA provides a daily on-line news wire of financial analysis and a database on over 900 companies. Its mission is to warn investors and creditors about companies experiencing operational problems and particularly those that employ unusual or aggressive accounting practices to camouflage such problems.

Howard Schilit  
301-984-1001 ext. 105

Learning, or Access, Portals

A learning portal is a Web site that offers consolidated access to learning resources. The most common of these involve access to college distance learning efforts. Designed as virtual campuses, they provide student and faculty with access to course schedules, registration and payment systems, information, and other services. Throughout the course, this portal is used as an interface between the student and learning materials. At present, this type of portal is customized to the student's learning interest, but may provide limited or no capacity for personalization.

Examples of learning portals include multinational efforts, such as TeleCampus from the New Brunswick Learning (; regional efforts, such as Southern Regional Education Board Electronic Campus (; and campus-based efforts, like WSU Online from Weber State University ( The TeleCampus is truly a remarkable collection of online learning offerings from around the world. Courses may be selected by subject, by words contained in the title or description, or by institution. Pop-up windows provide more complete course information including cost, analysis of the offering, and links back to the offering campus to register for the class. The "Before You Begin" section includes valuable information on unrecognized accrediting agencies and unaccredited institutions. The site is not personalized to the student, but provides chat capability and a wealth of useful information for distance learners.

Other Examples

Science, Industry, Agriculture, Business, and Culture & Recreation Portals 
Although these are  most certainly oriented to Australia, there is a wealth of information in these portals.  Note especially the Directories and Databases.

Delivering science, industry and innovation information and services to industry, investors, and the business and research communities

Related Portals: Agriculture | Business | Culture and Recreation |


How a University Can Build Portals

Library and Law Portals

"Ready of Not, They're Here:  Library Portals," Syllabus, July 2001, beginning on Page 30 --- 

In my view, the most important module of this article is the module on the library portal at North Carolina State University --- (although there are other good examples as well):

One of the most-discussed library portals belongs to North Carolina State. My Library@NCState began in theory in 1997 with a working model unveiled in 1998. MyLibrary@NCState comprises library resources, links to both library services and university Web pages, as well as personal profile areas. MyLibrary@NCState works by allowing users to select a subject discipline, thereby bringing a librarian's content expertise to one's own fingertips. Features including "Message from My Librarian" and "My Librarian" are predicated on the discipline selected by the user. As departments in universities have been accustomed to having a content expert to whom recommendations can be made and from whom advice can be solicited, this advisory service is now available to all through the portal. Users can be alerted when new materials are added to a particular collection, when new journal articles in line with an interest profile appear, when guest lectures and seminars occur on campus, and when materials for specific courses in which the user is enrolled are available. Gone, it seems, are the days of browsing the shelves, as we streamline the time of the reader. MyLibrary@NCState is a work in progress, with significant improvements occurring frequently. A visit to MyLibrary@NCState is a valuable experience for all librarians interested in improving their customer service models.

Resources concerning library portals abound in the literature and online, and resource sharing, including the source code required to implement the MyLibrary@NCState portal system—with the understanding that each institution works on its own administrative databases, security features, computer applications, and actual look and feel of the portal interface—is downloadable freely ( Playing in the "sandbox" of code is encouraged, and a worthwhile listserv exists to aid systems librarians and their peers as they install and customize their own "MyLibrary."

The general conclusion is that library portals will "change the organizational culture in libraries." (Page 31)  The main implication is that libraries are becoming more consumer-focused and positioning themselves within the overall system of knowledge and learning.  Nations such as Australia are investing heavily in library portals programs.

Legal Research Portals

Law & Legal Research Center -

FindLaw -

AllLaw -

FindForms -

LawInfo -

LawyerExpress -

Years ago I made the Wow Site of the Week the Oyez site at Northwestern University.  Under funding from the U.S. Government, the Oyez site enabled anyone in the world to download the audio of actual oral arguments of lawyers standing before the U.S. Supreme Court ---

Oyez Baseball 

The Brain --- Alternate ways of organizing knowledge ---

Containers versus Links Traditional information management systems use folders and focus on separating information – they force you to divide information into containers. Separating information in this way creates barriers between information and ignores the naturally occurring relationships inherent in the information. TheBrain takes the opposite approach – it enables you to link information into a network of logical associations.

The Power of Association Traditional directory trees confine information to a strict hierarchical organization and are incapable of expressing the multi-layered relationships that exist in the real world. TheBrain is an associative information organization system – any piece of information can be linked to any other piece. The power of TheBrain lies in the flexibility of these links. You can quickly create structures of information that reflect the way you think about your information. Each item triggers related items, bringing relevant information together as you need it.

Visualizing Information Flow Items in TheBrain are called "thoughts," which can represent files, web pages, or database records. TheBrain's display is organized around a thought, surrounded by all its related thoughts. Clicking on any thought brings it to the center of the display, and the interface is automatically reconfigured to new related thoughts. (Try it by clicking on TheBrain above - just click back to the Overview thought to return here.) As you navigate through data, the information displayed on the screen is always related to the selected data. TheBrain lets you follow a train of thought, flowing from one item to the next.

Using TheBrain Using TheBrain is as simple as pointing and clicking. The interface lets you browse visually through its unique, animated display. Adding new information and integrating existing information is a simple drag and drop. Using The Brain, anyone can create and share a context rich information environment.

Library Machine

October 16, 2002 message from Kathy Krajco [

Hello Dr. Jensen: As a more powerful but perhaps harder to learn alternative to The Brain™, The Literary Machine would make an excellent addition to your "Threads on Knowledge Portals" page at 

The Literary Machine's front-end is an intelligence center with the power to analyze and compose. You can use it to process information — strain out the relevant bits and piece them together. Aimed at critical thinking and creativity (especially in writing), it features a powerful, no-nonsense text-based keyword matrix for concept mapping, idea generating, and brainstorming. LM's back-end is a new kind of word processor — a front-end word processor for composing documents, not for proofreading and formatting them.

LM is uniquely designed as a freeform, flat relational database that lets you hybridize keywords. But it doesn't sacrifice the convenience of hierarchical organization to get that power. For, you can also organize the information in a treelike subsystem that outlines topics, chain-links related texts, and exports them as drafts. You can save multiple versions of a draft to experiment with different outlines or scenarios. LM also features automatic XML import and export. It can even store sound and pictures, create file albums, and integrate external data (such as Web pages and local documents). So, though the author does not aim to create the "Swiss Army Knife" of information managers, many users claim that LM serves all their PIM needs as well as their creativity needs.

There are two editions of The Literary Machine. LM 2000 is freeware you can download at many trusted freeware sites. LM Professional sells for the low introductory price of $20 at

Author: Gunnar Sommestad Web site: 

Gunnar and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Best wishes,

Kathy Krajco 
Gunnar Sommestad 

Audio Portals

In my viewpoint, knowledge portals of the future will offer knowledge in various media.  The three most obvious are text, audio, and graphics.  Text will be available in multiple languages and users will be given a choice as to whether they want to read or listen to the knowledge portal segments.  In most cases, they will also be allowed to both read and listen at the same time if they so choose.  In addition video will be available for some modules.

An Example of an Audio Portal:  BeVocal

The online website demonstrations are at 

Bob Jensen's illustrations for his workshops are at 

TellMe lets you have a phone conversation with it various databases at 
After you sign up for free at the above website, you can phone to have a conversation about the following:

Call 1-800-555-TELL and say:
Tellme My Favorites Sports Soap Operas
Restaurants News Lottery
Movies Election Blackjack
Taxi Traffic Time
Driving Directions Weather Phone Booth
Travel Horoscopes Extensions
Stock Quotes


I have another set of threads called "Talking To and Listening To Computers Via Telephone."  The link is at 

I think the advantage of the computer is that you can have both the audio and the audio transcriptions into text. Hopefully, knowledge portals will do both.

However, present audio portals such as BeVocal can only be accessed by telephone.

One day, we hope that telephones will have the ability to convert your typed messages into audio for the phone and translate the incoming audio into instant text. That day is almost here!

Technology will be fantastic in aiding the deaf. It will be equally fantastic for the blind with the ability to translate text into audio. For Helen Keller-type handicaps, however, technology will be less exciting. There are experiments taking place that link computers directly to the brain and bypass audio and visual sensory preceptors. However, this technology is a long way off.

Deaf people should actively encourage accompaniment of audio with text transcriptions, especially in knowledge portals.

Cal Berkeley's Labor Research Portal --- 

Web Guides
Alternative Forms of Ownership
Resources for workers and firms interested in models for employee participation and ownership
Labor Education
A guide to labor studies programs at colleges and universities
Resources covering Global trade, employment and environmental issues
Labor Libraries
A list of special libraries that focus on labor, along with selected Full-text print resources on the Internet
A list of United States government, regulatory and legal web resources that pertain to labor
Labor Unions - U.S.
The IIR Library's exhaustive list of U.S. unions
International Labor Unions
Labor unions world-wide, along with international organizations that address labor concerns.
Work and career
The Library's guide to employment information and career guides on the web
Labor Culture
A selected guides to the art, culture and music of the Labor Movement

Bob Jensen's management bookmarks are at 

Links to other threads of Bob Jensen are at 

Bob Jensen's homepage is at