Harvard to Lauch Internet Portal Project

With new "portal pages" designed around the needs of individual students, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) is aiming next fall to give undergraduates their own private entrance to the Information Superhighway.

The Portal Project, a new initiative in the works by FAS' Information Technology committee will give students access to a customized Web site with constantly updated links to Harvard information.

Depending on how quickly developers can perfect a final version, student portal pages might be available as early as the fall semester, committee members said.

The goal of the project, according to David B. Alpert '00, one of the two undergraduate representatives to the committee, is to create "a single Web page customized for each student where students can go access all sorts of information."

The portal pages will be very similar to personalized pages available through Yahoo, Excite or Netscape. Most of the information available will be relevant to Harvard, but students can add their own links as well.

Referring to Yahoo's personalized sites--called MyYahoo--Alpert said the proposed portal system "is like MyHarvard."

"It's a way of organizing Harvard and personal data," said Gray Professor of Systematic Botany Donald H. Pfister, a member of the committee and also Kirkland House Master.

According to committee members, students will log into the site with their Harvard identification numbers and a special personal identification number.

Links to classes in which students are enrolled would be available on the portal pages, as well as each student's concentration page and House newsletter.

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