Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS
Portal ? in the dictionary you will find this defined as a doorway, entrance, or gate; especially one that is large and imposing. Portals are kind of like one-stop shopping for the World Wide Web. In the past, they offered e-mail, chat areas, message boards, news, stock quotes, travel, games, and sports scores.
Now, many offer calendars, shopping carts, multimedia, software downloads, and clubs. Some can be personalized for your preferences. A portal is the site your browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer) goes to as it is connecting to the Internet. It is the home page that you view each time you enter cyberspace.
Below you will find a number of these portal sites. Visit them all! Experiment with them. Decide which one offers you the information you are looking for.
Choose the one that works best for you and program it into your browser as your home page. For Internet Explorer users, go to OTools,O then OInternet Options.O
Under the OGeneralO tab, you will find a place to type in an address for your home page. For Netscape Users, go to OEditO and then OPreferences.O Click on ONavigatorO in the left directory tree (it is highlighted by default) and type in the URL for your preferred home page.
Some portal site addresses are:
Go 2 Net
There are now OdentalO portal sites appearing on the World Wide Web. These are sites that are evolving on a daily basis. They, too, offer a wide variety of services. Some offer information for consumers, some offer online continuing-education courses, some offer dental supplies and dental auctions, and some offer discussion group areas.
Some of these dental-portal-site addresses are:
* This is a new entry into the field. Consumers will be able to find dentists, ask questions, purchase products, and gain valuable education. The dentist side will be heavy into the community concept. It will concentrate on discussion groups and chat. Its goal is to allow dentists to communicate with each other 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It also will have a dental mall section, continuing education, and more.
* This is an extensive site. Some of its features are e-mail accounts, dentist directory, newscape section (news, stocks, sports, travel, weather, etc.), a section for the female professional, continuing education, career opportunities, practice sales, management tools, and dental products.
* This site has a dental forum section, marketplace section, and product-evaluation section. The main site also has an extensive consumer section.
* This site is divided into four sections: community (employment, photographs, calendar of events), content (articles, abstracts, continuing education, Merck manual), commerce (auction, books, equipment, supplies), and communication (discussion forum, chat).
* On this site, you will find supplies, auctions, classified ads, continuing education, and articles.
* This is another new site. It presently has a marketplace section. In the future, it will have discussion groups, classified ads, industry news, clinical information, and a library of reference materials.
What will the future hold for these sites? As Internet connections continue to get faster (DSL lines, cable access, etc.), the sky is the limit. These sites will be able to offer you an unlimited amount of information and services. Fasten your seatbelts ... this is going to be one exciting ride!
Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry Magazine and spokesperson and critical-issue-response-team chairperson for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. His address on the Internet is www.dfdasmiles.com. Contact him by e-mail at [email protected], by phone at (314) 567-5612, or fax at (314) 567-9047.