SOSIG: an Internet hub for the social sciences, business and law

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/14684520010320112
Pages54-58
Publication Date01 February 2000
AuthorDebra Hiom
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Library & information science
SOSIG: an Internet hub
for the social sciences,
business and law
Debra Hiom
1. Introduction
Readers of this special issue of Online
Information Review should by now be acutely
aware of the problems of accessing
information on the Internet and the general
approach that subject gateways are taking to
try to alleviate these problems. This article
looks specifically at the development of
SOSIG (the Social Science Information
Gateway) and some of the associated research
and development areas that are taking place
around the service.
2. What is SOSIG?
SOSIG aims to provide a trusted source of
selected, high quality Internet information for
researchers and practitioners in the social
sciences, business and law (see Figure 1 for a
view of the SOSIG home page). The primary
feature of the service is the SOSIG Internet
catalogue, which is an online database of high
quality Internet resources. The catalogue
points to thousands of resources, each one of
which has been selected and described by a
librarian or academic. The catalogue is
searchable or browsable by 16 top-level
subject areas (with over 230 sub-sections).
The service started out in 1994 as a pilot
project funded by the UK's Economic and
Social Research Council to ``access relevant
sources of information at a central point of
entry on the network, without the difficulty of
having to learn multiple service instructions''
(Ferguson, 1995). Whilst the almost universal
acceptance of the Web has alleviated many of
the problems of dealing with varied and
arcane methods of accessing information, the
problems for finding relevant, timely
information still exists. The service has
developed over the years in size, scope and
features to help deal with this. In August 1999
SOSIG was awarded the contract to operate
the social science, business and law ``hub'' of
the RDN ± the Resource Discovery Network,
which will be the premier Internet search tool
for the UK academic and research
communities (see Lorcan Dempsey's article
(pp. 8-23) for more information on the
RDN).
2.1 A distributed team
The service has a core staff based at the
University of Bristol, complemented by a
The author
Debra Hiom is SOSIG Project Manager, University of
Bristol, UK.
Keywords
Social sciences, Internet, Online retrieval, Information
services, Databases
Abstract
SOSIG (Social Science Information Gateway) aims to
provide a trusted source of selected, high quality Internet
information for researchers and practitioners in the social
sciences, business and law. This article tracks the
development of the gateway since its inception in 1994,
describes the current features and looks at some of the
associated research and development areas that are
taking place around the service including the automatic
classification of Web resources and experiments with
multilingual thesauri.
Electronic access
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is
available at
http://www.emerald-library.com
Service profiles
54
Online Information Review
Volume 24 .Number 1 .2000 .pp. 54±58
#MCB University Press .ISSN 1468-4527

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