Planet SOSIG

Justine Kitchen of the Resource Discovery Network Centre reports on the recent SOSIG relaunch, and Debra Hiom explores New Learning and Teaching Support Networks in the Social Sciences

New Millennium, New SOSIG

On the 25th February 2000 SOSIG (Social Science Information Gateway) officially launched its brand new service at a successful one-day event in central London. Speakers at the event included Annabel Colley, website producer for BBC's Panorama and Chair of the Association for UK Media Librarians who spoke of the enormous contribution SOSIG has made to research, since its inception. "Used incorrectly, the Internet can be a huge time waster. It's been likened to a huge vandalised library: a useful analogy. Internet services like SOSIG help to put it back in order. For a journalist, the issue is always quality and accuracy, something SOSIG has consistently provided."

A variety of guests attended from across the business, law and social science communities to witness the new service in operation for the very first time. SOSIG has been at the leading edge of Internet service provision since 1994, when it first began providing users with direct ease of access to high quality web information in the Social Sciences. The new service has gone a step further to offer a brand new interface with improved design and navigability, together with some exciting additional services designed to enable users to find accurate, timely, authentic information resources in Social Science, Business and Law more quickly and effectively than ever before.

In short, SOSIG helps make sense of Internet Information by offering:

  • An Internet Catalogue providing search and browse access to over 10,000 thousand high quality Internet-accessible resources from around the world together with brief descriptions, to help you identify the best sources for you quickly and effectively.
  • A Social Science Search Engine with over 50,000 social science related Web pages
  • Browsing by subject, with supporting Subject Guides
  • Thesaurus facilities to help you find alternative search terms and thereby improve your results
  • The Social Science Grapevine, providing conference announcements, courses and CVs and profiles of like-minded researchers (and the option to publish your own)
  • My Account, offering customised personal views of what's new on SOSIG, including regular email updates
  • A way to automatically find like-minded colleagues who are working in the same fields using the 'find my friends' option

Take a look at the new site at SOSIG is a service of the Resource Discovery Network, a developing network based at King's College London, partly funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). The network provides access to high quality resources in a range of other subjects visit for more information. Why struggle to find high quality information in your subject area on the Internet, when the experts have already done it for you? If you have any queries about SOSIG please contact: Nicky Ferguson Director, Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG) Email: Tel: +44 (0)117 928 7084 Or Justine Kitchen Information and Training Manager Resource Discovery Network Centre King's College London Email: Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2935



New Learning and Teaching Support Networks in the Social Sciences


The review of the CTI and TLTSN initiatives funded by HEFCE led to a recommendation that there should be a rationalisation of the existing set of teaching and learning programmes and initiatives on a UK wide basis. These have been formally convened within a Learning and Teaching Support Network, comprising 24 subject centres and one Generic Learning and Teaching Centre.

Many of the new subject centres build on existing CTI's and involve learning and teaching support networks created by other funding council initiatives, such as FDTL. The new centres will become the main points of contact within subject communities for information and advice on good practices and innovations in learning, teaching and assessment, and will provide support for the many networks which already exist. The centres will aim to have high visibility within their subjects and ensure they provide both a pro-active and a responsive service to the needs of their communities.

Within the social sciences the following LTSN's have been established:

Business and Management and Accountancy


The Centre for Business, Management and Accountancy is a partnership between the School of Management, University of East Anglia (UEA), the Open University Business School, and the Business School at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) with the lead site at UEA. UEA will co-ordinate the work of all three partners and will provide the first point of contact for the constituency in England and Wales.

The Centre at GCU will be responsible for the centre's activities in Scotland and Northern Ireland. An Advisory Board and an Associate Panel of Experts drawn from the academic and professional constituency will support the work of the centre.

The Centre's aims are:

  • To support lecturers of Business, Management and Accountancy in maintaining and enhancing the quality and effectiveness of their teaching.
  • To contribute to an understanding of the institutional, organisationaland human issues relating to successful adoption of innovative learning and teaching issues, including C&IT.
  • Encourage research and pedagogic development in the learning and teaching of the discipline, including support of C&IT and other innovations.

In pursuit of these aims LTSN.BMA will disseminate information through:

  • the WWW,
  • a journal and a newsletter,
  • conferences,
  • workshops and seminars
  • definitive subject reports.

To find out more have a look at:


The Economics LTSN centre is based at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol and brings together expertise and experience from the Universities of Bristol, UWE and Portsmouth and from the former CTI Centre for Economics. Its principal aims are to:

  • Collate and promote information on good practices
  • Provide networks for communication within the economics
  • Provide opportunities for professional development
  • Review, advise and encourage pedagogical research and development in economics.

The Economics LTSN centre hopes to act as a catalyst for improving learning and teaching in economics through a range of advice and guidance activities and by facilitating channels where lecturers can communicate with each other. To find out more have a look at:

Education Subject Centre: advancing learning & teaching in Education

The Education Subject Centre is a partnership between the Universities of Nottingham, Bristol and Oxford Brookes with UCET and UACE. The Centre will be directed by Professor Roger Murphy of the University of Nottingham.

The Centre is a resource on innovative practice and theoretical perspectives for educators in all sectors and educational contexts that, in order to help them:

  • Provide high quality, relevant and appropriate differentiated support for learning
  • Identify points of articulation between the curricula of compulsory and non-compulsory education so as to develop lifelong learning
  • Provide support that meets the diverse range of learning needs of an extremely heterogeneous student population

The functions of the Centre will be three-fold:

  • The collection of insights, experience and resources from all sources within the subject, and from all regions
  • The collation of the resources gathered into high quality support materials
  • The dissemination of material and the promotion of good practice through a variety of knowledge brokerage activities, involving as wide a constituency as possible

For more details contact:

Arlene Gilpin -

The UK Centre for Legal Education


The UK Centre for Legal Education, is founded on the merger of the National Centre for Legal Education (supported by FDTL) and the Law Technology Centre (one of the CTI Centres) and is based at the University of Warwick. The UKCLE aims to develop and enhance learning, teaching and assessment practices in legal education by supporting learning and teaching innovation in both academic and vocational legal training. A key focus will be upon the effective development and implementation of technology to support learning and teaching practice.

To achieve its aims the UKCLE will provide a range of services and opportunities for the legal education community including a Learning and Teaching Fund to provide support for innovative educational projects. In addition, the UKCLE will co-ordinate a number of events to encourage the exchange of ideas at macro level and to help with specific institutional concerns. Regional seminars, bespoke workshops and a consultative service to providers are all part of the commitment to encouraging quality research and developing skills, knowledge and the autonomy of mind required of students in the 21st century. Current news and developments will be posted on the centre's website.

To find out more take a look at:

or contact:
Tel: 024 7652 3117
UK Centre for Legal Education
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


LTSN Psychology is led from the University of York, with an associate site at Strathclyde University. A number of specialist consultants will be appointed to lead network activities in subareas of the discipline or in relation to particular educational methods or approaches. The Centre aims to encourage the evaluation and dissemination of innovations developed for local use and will fund a number of small projects to make available to the wider community validated examples of good practice.

The Centre is currently recruiting staff and planning an initial survey of the needs of the Psychology community. During the transitional period, the current CTI Psychology enquiry, web and distribution services will continue, although these will be reviewed as part of the initial survey. A programme of workshops and visits together with publications and website will be announced later this year.

Dissemination of the Centre’s activities will be supported by a network of individual contacts within psychology departments. If you wish to join the Centre's mailing list or have enquiries relating to the Centre contact:

Annie Trapp, LTSN Psychology,
Department of Psychology,
University of York,
YO1 5DD.
Tel: +44 (0)1904 433154

To find out more take a look at:

SWAP-LTSN: Learning and Teaching Support Network Subject Centre for Social Policy and Social Work

The centre for Social Policy and Social Work (SWAP) will collate, critically evaluate, promote, disseminate and develop good practice in learning, teaching and assessment in UK higher education funded social work and social policy education, including the use, where appropriate, of communication and information technology (C&IT).

SWAP is led by the University of Southampton, in partnership with the University of Bristol and the National Institute for Social Work (NISW).

Principal functions and activities will include:

  • Asessing the baseline and the learning profiles of the disciplines
  • Building the networks and communities
  • Tracking existing and future HE projects and programmes
  • Collating and critiquing practice in learning and teaching in Social Policy and Social Work
  • Developing the knowledge base of good practice
  • Facilitating the transfer and embedding of good practice in learning and teaching
  • Developing the resourcxe base and adding value
  • Disseminating information using a range of strategies.

To find out more have a look at:

Author Details

  Justine Kitchen
Information and Training Manager
Resource Discovery Network Centre
King's College London

Web site:

Debra Hiom
Research Officer
University of Bristol

Web site:


Date published: 
Thursday, 23 March 2000
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