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Originally described as a service that simply provided access to the Internet (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, 2003), the term portal has evolved (and is still evolving) to assume many different, and contradictory, definitions, some considering it to be another way of saying a search engine or a new name for a website (Sochats and Robins, 2002). The term is probably best applied to any homepage or website, personal or corporate, which acts as a gateway, via hypertext links, to a variety of services on the Internet (J. Hall, 2001: 23; Whittaker, 2000: 33). These services generally include features like search engines, web-based email, directories of people and businesses, and shopping guides (Reddick and King, 2001: 27). For this reason, portals tend to be (automatically ...

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