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January 8, 2004
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Portal project makes grade


Andrew Draskoy (L) and programmer Sarah Arnott
Photo by Chris Hammond
Andrew Draskoy (L) and programmer Sarah Arnott have put a significant amount of time and effort into the uPortal project.
By Kristine Hamlyn
Memorial University of Newfoundland has been mentioned among some of the top universities in the world for its significant involvement in the uPortal project. InfoWorld, a premier business and computing magazine, has named the project by the Java Architectures Special Interest Group (JA-SIG), in which Memorial plays an integral role, in the top five of its top 100 visionary IT projects of 2003.

The current core uPortal developer group includes Columbia, Yale, Cornell, and Nagoya Universities, Memorial University of Newfoundland and three for-profit companies. Andrew Draskoy, portal project leader, is proud to report that Memorial has received a huge amount of recognition for the project. “Essentially, it has put us on the map in this area of innovation.”

The judges for the top 100, made up of InfoWorld editors and InfoWorld CTO, reviewed entries submitted by companies, government agencies, and organizations. Entries were judged on innovation and project complexity. Judges looked at what cutting-edge technologies were used and the stumbling blocks that were overcome to achieve success. Also considered were integration issues and how project leaders worked with users and other business units.

Mr. Draskoy and programmer Sarah Arnott have put a significant amount of time and effort into the uPortal project to date. Although the work done from Memorial’s end has focused solely on what is required for the purpose of advancing Memorial’s own portal, located at my.mun.ca, it has been invaluable to the JA-SIG team, the uPortal project as a whole and to many other universities using uPortal to create their own portals.

For somebody offering a service, Memorial’s portal is a way to improve processes. From the user point of view it creates a sense of relationship with the university. “There is no longer a need for students, faculty and staff at Memorial to have an intimate knowledge of the university’s administrative structure,” explained Mr. Draskoy. “The portal takes into account the individual’s multiple and changing roles within the institution and creates a personalized view of the university. For example, if you are an alumnus, staff or student you could you get the relevant services and information in one place.”

Memorial’s portal and thus direct involvement with JA-SIG and the uPortal project has led to high profile recognition for the university. This work is used by many other universities around the world and there are external audiences who regard Memorial as innovators in this area. It is a remarkable tool for relationship building, improving process and in many instances saving a lot of time, money and resources. People can look forward to an improved user experience at Memorial as more administrative departments come on board.

The InfoWorld 100 awards honour IT initiatives making use of innovative technology to further their organizations’ goals. This year, JA-SIG placed a predominant number four, preceded by Citigroup, Maines Paper and Food Service and Arrow Electronics respectively, with Hartford Hospital taking fifth place. Those interested in reading the InfoWorld article which highlights the significance of the uPortal project and mentions Memorial University among the most prestigious universities in the world can go to www.uportal.org.

 


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Lyle Wetsch
Dr. Axel Meisen
Anne Marie Hynes (R) with a student
Andrew Draskoy
Dr. Tanis Adey
Next issue: January 22, 2003

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