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Planet SOSIG: Regarding Collaboration, Conferences and Courses

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Alejandro Fernandez introduces a new collaborative initiative between the RDN and LTSN, Emma Place reports from the BPS Annual Conference and Neil Jacobs presents a new course for social researchers in Government.

SOSIG and LTSN Collaboration Project

On March 11th, representatives from the social science-related LTSN Subject Centres sat down with SOSIG staff to kick off a collaboration project that has the grand goal of maximising the use of Internet resource descriptions and information created for the UK social science community by sharing cataloguing responsibilities and tasks.

LTSN subject centres have a central aim of following and supporting lecturer's needs within higher education and within the specialised subject areas that they cover. Linked to this is the role to "provide learning and teaching resources specific to their community". This project looks in particular at the selection and description of learning and teaching materials, which is where currently there is an overlap with the RDN.

In practice, this means:

  • Using OAI as a way of sharing Internet resource description records
  • Exchanging news and events information via RSS
  • Committing to a shared metadata standard

For this last point, we have decided to use the UK Common Metadata Framework (UKCMF), which provides a good starting point although a lot of work will need to go into making the language more suitable to the learning and teaching needs of the LTSN Subject Centres. We will keep you updated on the project as it progresses.

The British Psychological Society Annual Conference 2003

The BPS (http://www.bps.org.uk/) annual conference took place in Bournemouth this March, revealing the latest research evidence in psychology, including the following new findings:

  • Speakers who gesticulate will be better remembered than those who are motionless while they present
  • Autism is "two separate illnesses" - one relating to the lack of a "theory of mind" in the sufferer, the other manifesting in the obsessive behaviours often associated with the condition
  • Ecstasy is linked with increased levels of clinical depression, even if only taken twice
  • Happiness most commonly correlates with one or more of the following: religion, sociability, cooperation, and whole-hearted engagement with work or leisure. Happiness is innate within us all, but for it to reveal itself, society has to be conducive to its attainment

SOSIG was invited to give a presentation to the BPS Student Members Group (http://smg.bps.org.uk/) who ran a parallel conference on the Saturday. This revealed the wealth of research work being undertaken by psychology students into subjects such as HIV and sexual risk-taking, and attitudes to e-therapy. SOSIG received a very warm welcome from this group, provoking some discussion of the need for more research on the impact of the Internet on psychology.

Finding the Evidence

With central and local government increasingly looking for evidence to underpin the programme of work, finding appropriate and relevant information quickly and efficiently has become an essential skill. Effective use of the Internet, and library databases are a requirement for most social research projects, and yet the vast scope of these resources make identifying relevant and robust evidence a formidable task. Even those who are familiar with the technology find accessing good quality research evidence an incredibly complex process.

A new course is being launched this month to help researchers, (especially those from the public sector), make sense of the wealth of information available and enable participants to target the right evidence. The course will help participants to identify what evidence is currently available on their topic area, including databases that can be searched on the Internet, (such as Planex, Acompline and ChildData), as well as traditional sources of information, often overlooked.

The course is designed by the Centre for Management and Policy Studies (http://www.cmps.gov.uk/) in association with the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) at the University of Bristol and the ESRC UK Centre for Evidence Based Policy and Practice, Queen Mary College, London.

Author Details

Alejandro Fernandez
ILRT
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1HH
Email: a.fernandez@bristol.ac.uk
Tel: 0117 928 7072
Fax: 0117 928 7112
Emma Place
ILRT
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1HH
Email: emma.place@bristol.ac.uk
Tel: 0117 928 7183
Fax: 0117 928 7112
Neil Jacobs
ILRT
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1HH
Email: neil.jacobs@bristol.ac.uk
Tel: 0117 928 7057
Fax: 0117 928 7112
Date published: 
30 April 2003

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How to cite this article

Alejandro Fernandez, Emma Place, Neil Jacobs. "Planet SOSIG: Regarding Collaboration, Conferences and Courses". April 2003, Ariadne Issue 35 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue35/planet-sosig/


article | by Dr. Radut