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Web Development Project Team Proposal for a revised approach to the select ion of the

Web Development Project Team

Proposal for a revised approach to the selection of the University’s Institutional portal software

1. Current approach to software selection

Write joint specification for portal and content management system

Issue OJEC tender

Evaluate responses

Evaluate open source software (for both CMS and portal)

Make decision


2. But – is there another option which decouples portal from the CMS procurement?

Write portal requirements specification

Write content management system specification

Evaluate open source portal software against commercial offerings (without issuing tender documents)

Make portal decision

Continue as current approach but for CMS only

3. Why should we consider an alternative approach?

Our understanding of the role of the portal and the role of the content management system, in the context of the University's information systems infrastructure, has developed

Evidence collected from our visits to other institutions indicates a trend away from commercial portal packages as the technology providing institutional portals

Many other institutions have already carried out portal software evaluation processes which included commercial and open source products


Make early decision on portal

Simplify the complexity of the OJEC procurement procedure by tendering for only the CMS and thereby reduce risk

Take advantage of evaluation work carried out by others to inform our own evaluation

4. The role of the portal versus the content management system


Content Management System

To aggregate University and external on-line services for a range of

To publish web content

audiences including staff, students, alumni and prospective students.


Dynamic (information is collated on- the-fly typically from a variety of sources), user configurable, organic

To hold information which is periodically reviewed

A lightweight framework which will be programmable by Computing Service and authorised staff.

Richly configurable software. The main configuration of the publication/presentation process will be carried out by Web Office and authorised staff.

5. Supporting evidence from other institutions and sector trends

University of Hull

University of Liverpool

Trends in the use of Oracle portal

6. Evaluation and selection processes at other institutions

Edinburgh – uPortal – see link below

Bristol – uPortal – see link below

Leeds – SCT Luminus – more information to be obtained

7. Issues

a. Why is open source appropriate for the portal?

Fit with our technical strategy and user requirements: lightweight, standards based, programmable framework offering maximum flexibility for integration of University resources

JA-SIG list 150 HE educational institutions using uPortal (80 production, 70 development)

Other claims suggest 800 uPortal users globally of whom 40% take a commercially supported version e.g. SCT Luminus

b. Has portal software previously acquired by the University been considered?

Yes. Please see the accompanying appendix which is a paper which was received by Information Committee in May 2005.

The Blackboard VLE has some portal capabilies which are tightly integrated into its product set. However, the VLE is first and foremost a teaching and learning tool as opposed to an institutional portal.

The Blackboard product development strategy will focus on pedagogic advances whereas a portal product roadmap will concentrate on topics such as improved integration and personalisation.

c. What is the main commercial competition?

Oracle portal (commercial software)

SCT Luminus (open source software (uPortal) commercially supported)

Unicon (Academus Portal 2.0) (open source software (uPortal) commercially supported)

8. Next steps

Web Committee to receive an update on progress in December 2005

Continue collecting supporting information

Provide SIPIG with an update in January 2006



Links to supporting information:

Extract from Bristol University portal project web page:

University of Bristol portal evaluation (Oracle vs Uportal)

Northern Ireland Integrated Managed Learning Environment

University of Edinburgh

Useful round up of uPortal activities in UK institutions: