|VTLS, Inc. has announced the release of the Chameleon iPortal, an aggregate
Web service for libraries that captures information via multiple Internet
channels and search engines. Although the company says its flexibility
makes it appealing to all types of users (hence the name "Chameleon"),
Chameleon iPortal caters to those who want immediate access to a broad
range of online resources associated with a defined subject area or their
particular area of interest.
"Libraries need to be able to mirror or compete with other Web services
such as Yahoo!, Netscape.com, and MSN.com," said Vinod Chachra, president
of VTLS, Inc. "Consequently, ILS vendors need to embrace and build on the
developing technologies and resources made available on the Web. It is
time for ILS vendors to rethink the traditional gateway and provide the
flexibility and tools libraries need to take advantage of these new Web
The Chameleon iPortal is an extension of the features of Virtua ILS
Chameleon Gateway. With the Chameleon Gateway, the library's catalog may
be viewed through the patron's preferred interface or "skin," whether it
is one designed for advanced users, for children, or for another specific
patron group. The Chameleon Gateway's skin technology allows VTLS to deliver
"just for you" software; libraries can design multiple interfaces and patrons
can choose which interface to use.
In addition to the Chameleon Gateway's features, the Chameleon iPortal
will provide "drop-in/pull-out" (DIPO) components that will allow for the
The Chameleon iPortal differs from the Chameleon Gateway in that it provides
enhanced methods of searching, including thesaurus searches, selective
dissemination of information (SDI), and extended bibliographic services
(XBS) for pinpointing specific bibliographic records within a catalog.
Easy access to subscription or external databases
Broadcast searching across multiple Z39.50 databases
Simple-to-construct "canned" searches into a library's collection
Access to external search engines and other portals that offer links to
subject-based collections of interest to the patron
Easily configurable, multi-subject-based interfaces
A library calendar of events
Extended multimedia services with links to material such as book covers,
tables of contents, and book reviews
Integrated message boards, forums, and chat rooms
The ability to embrace new "open" technologies such as the Open Archives
Further, with the Chameleon iPortal, a user can select a research topic,
such as "exercise," and then be presented with a number of "smart" links
to other resources, including Books In Print, Amazon.com, Barnes &
Noble, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and search engines like Google. For
example, by clicking the link to Books In Print, the user will be presented
with the results of a search of all Books In Print on the topic of "exercise."
Current customers using the Chameleon Gateway may migrate to the Chameleon
iPortal simply by asking VTLS for an upgrade.
Source: VTLS, Inc., Blacksburg, VA, 540/557-1200; http://www.vtls.com.