P2 Information Gateways, Portals and Communities
      Nicky Ferguson, ILRT, Bristol, UK

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Many organisations and institutions wish to help their users to discover high quality information quickly and effectively. Many users are looking for a friendly starting point for their Web explorations where they can rely on signposts and recommendations and where they feel that they may virtually "meet" like-minded colleagues. So high quality Web collections are developing into electronic community centres which supply their users' needs and retain and develop a focussed community. A key component of these "portals" or "information gateways" is an Internet Resource Catalogue. In libraries and publishing, human intermediaries filter and process information so that users can search catalogues and indexes of organised knowledge. An Internet Resource Catalogue works on the same principle - it employs subject experts and information professionals to select, classify and catalogue Internet resources to help their users find what they need. Researchers know that they are looking at a quality controlled collection and a description of each resource is provided to help users assess its origin, content and nature, enabling them to decide if it is worth investigating further. With current developments in standards for describing content and meaning we are in sight of creating services which combine the advantages of the search engines and the human-created catalogues.