Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Planet SOSIG

Lesly Huxley writes about a new Internet service for social scientists.

Planet SOSIG has a new satellite: the Social Science Research Grapevine.

Grapevine provides an interesting compliment to the range of social science Web services hosted at the ILRT at Bristol, including SOSIG, REGARD and Biz/ed. The service is now also included in social science workshop modules offered by the ILRT joint services Internet training team.

What does Grapevine offer?

Grapevine is a new and unique online source of career development opportunities for social science researchers which was officially launched at the (IRISS’98) conference in March. It has received development funding from the ESRC and has the support of a wide range of social research organisations from all sectors. It is run as a not-for-profit service supported by subscriptions from advertisers of relevant career development opportunities. Some of the SOSIG team have been involved in Grapevine’s development and registered users are provided with a personalised view of SOSIG based on their Grapevine research profile.

Grapevine is the one place that social science researchers should look for jobs, training, careers and collaborations. Rather than having to connect to the individual Web sites of employers and training providers in the academic, government, voluntary and commercial sectors to find opportunities of interest, social science researchers can hear it all on the Grapevine!

Services for advertisers and researchers

Since the start of its development phase in October 1997, Grapevine has carried a wide range of advertisements from all sectors. Annual subscription rates compare very favourably with traditional print media and, once subscribed, advertisers can place an unlimited number of advertisements without further charge during the subscription period. Grapevine is particularly suited to short-term contract vacancies which are rarely advertised in the national press because of high costs. Employers can also browse and search CVs Online and Likeminds for details of researchers seeking work or opportunities for collaboration.

CVs Online and Likeminds allow researchers to publicise their research and professional interests free of charge. CVs Online present research skills, qualifications and experience in a formal way and provide an opportunity to specify preferred work regions and sectors. Likeminds offer a personal profile of research disciplines and subjects of interest - plus a text message for details of work, information, or collaboration sought, announcements or descriptions of work in progress. It is this profile which provides the personalised view of SOSIG. Work is also in progress on creating similar personal links to REGARD.

Future Development

Grapevine offers potential for the development of focused user services based on research profiles. Work is already underway on creating an optional email notification system whereby registered users could receive an email update of new Grapevine entries matching their specified interests. There is potential to extend the notification system to new additions to other services such as SOSIG or REGARD and/or the creation of an online ‘My Grapevine’ view of jobs, training opportunities and resources from other services.

Feedback and Further Information

Feedback about the existing service has already been very positive, from advertisers and users alike. If you would like to make a comment or suggestion about Grapevine, please use the online feedback form available from any of Grapevine’s pages. Further information about the service, including terms and conditions for advertisers, is available online in Grapevine’s About Us … section. If you would like to distribute fliers, receive a copy of the Grapevine newsletter or publicise the service in some other way, please send your request via the feedback form, by email to grapevine-info@bris.ac.uk or to the Grapevine team at ILRT.

Author Details

Lesly Huxley
Grapevine Project Manager
Institute for Learning and Research Technology
8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1TN