IBM Corp. has released new WebSphere Portal collaboration features, based on technology from the company’s Lotus software line. Demonstrated earlier this year at the company’s Lotusphere conference, the new features will be included in future releases of WebSphere Portal, and are available now to licensed users as a free download.

Dubbed the Collaboration Center, the feature set includes portlets for searching company directories and organizational charts, managing Lotus Team Workplace (formerly Lotus QuickPlace) workspaces, and interacting with Lotus Web Conferencing (formerly Lotus Sametime).

Portlets are content components displayed in a portal, comparable to windows on a PC desktop. In a related announcement, IBM said it and its business partners have recently added 200 new portlets and portlet builders to the WebSphere Portal Catalog, enabling new knowledge management and search/retrieval functions, as well as content delivery features for pushing to users information such as news bulletins.

IBM also released the new Application Portlet Builder for Domino, a tool aimed at simplifying portlet construction for applications based on Lotus’ Domino server. All of IBM’s portlet construction products, including Application Portlet Builder for Domino, feature new functionality allowing portlets to be built with an awareness of active users on Lotus Instant Messaging (also formerly Lotus Sametime), IBM said.

The WebSphere Portal Catalog is at Collaboration Center can be downloaded there.