Building a scientific knowledge web portal: The NanoPort experience

Michael Chau, Zan Huang, Jialun Qin, Yilu Zhou, Hsinchun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


There has been a tremendous growth in the amount of information and resources on the World Wide Web that are useful to researchers and practitioners in science domains. While the Web has made the communication and sharing of research ideas and results among scientists easier and faster than ever, its dynamic and unstructured nature also makes the scientists faced with such problems as information overload, vocabulary difference, and lack of analysis tools. To address these problems, it is highly desirable to have an integrated, "one-stop shopping" Web portal to support effective information searching and analysis as well as to enhance communication and collaboration among researchers in various scientific fields. In this paper, we review existing information retrieval techniques and related literature, and propose a framework for developing integrated Web portals that support information searching and analysis for scientific knowledge. Our framework incorporates collection building, meta-searching, keyword suggestion, and various content analysis techniques such as document summarization, document clustering, and topic map visualization. Patent analysis techniques such as citation analysis and content map analysis are also incorporated. To demonstrate the feasibility of our approach, we developed based on our architecture a knowledge portal, called NanoPort, in the field of nanoscale science and engineering. We report our experience and explore the various issues of relevance to developing a Web portal for scientific domains. The system was compared to other search systems in the field and several design issues were identified. An evaluation study was conducted and the results showed that subjects were more satisfied with the NanoPort system than with Scirus, a leading search engine for scientific articles. Through our prototype system, we demonstrated the feasibility of using such an integrated approach and the study brought insight into applying the proposed domain-independent architecture to different areas of science and engineering in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1216-1238
Number of pages23
JournalDecision Support Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Design
  • Document clustering
  • Document summarization
  • Meta-search
  • Nanotechnology
  • Patent analysis
  • Self-organizing maps
  • Visualization
  • Web portals
  • Web spiders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


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