Date of Award

12-2004

Type

Thesis

Major

Computer Science - Applied Computing Track

Department

TSYS School of Computer Science

First Advisor

Christopher C. Whitehead

Second Advisor

Stan Kurkovsky

Abstract

With the expansion of the World Wide Web in the 90s, individuals (especially students) are always on a quest for information resources especially in the form of Web sites. Yet many of them are overwhelmed when faced with deciding which site will best suit their research needs. As a result, these individuals may select a resource for less than optimal reasons. To ease some of the burden, libraries have made great advances to provide a place to organize information resources. Such places are called library portals, and they typically provide a gateway to web resources by categorizing and annotating them and creating a direct link to each resource. These annotated links are pre-evaluated by librarians and only placed online if their content seems valuable. If the links reside on static HTML web pages, the task of maintaining a portal can be fairly time consuming. The aim of this thesis is to research an easier and faster way to develop a library portal that provides up-to-date content on its interface, without having to redevelop the portal website every time. To meet these needs, a new kind of administrative library portal called the Annotation Manager has been developed. It is designed for storing annotations in a database and dynamically displaying them on the end user interface. This format also allows the user to query the database and retrieve search results according to his/her research needs. The Annotation Manager also contains an administrative panel, through which administrative users (i.e., librarians and faculty members) may log in, modify content and perform maintenance on the database as necessary. This can include everything from the addition of new categories, categories within categories, and annotations belonging to those categories. Moreover, to preserve the data integrity of the links themselves, the Annotation Manager involves a batch program called LinkCheck that runs periodically each week to validate the existence of each link. This thesis compares the Annotation Manager with other currently available tools, followed by a detailed explanation of the database structure. It also provides instructions on how to use the three components of this product: the End User Interface, Administrative Panel, and LinkCheck. This thesis also demonstrates the capabilities of the Annotation Manager by developing a working prototype, and outlines possible future enhancements that can be made to this product to make it even more valuable to users and librarians alike.

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