Web Magazine for Information Professionals


Debra Hiom on recent developments and happenings with ALISS, IRISS, and SOSIG.

First call for papers for IRISS’98

An international conference on social science research and information on the Internet is planned for the 25-27 March 1998. The conference will be held in Bristol in the UK and is being hosted by the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT)[1], home to SOSIG[2] and a number of other social science and Internet related projects. The conference is aimed at social science researchers, practitioners and information professionals who are interested in the role and impact of the Internet on the social sciences and society in general. The conference will also provide a platform for social science information providers involved in publishing over the Internet. The first call for papers was announced in July 1997.

Conference themes

The main themes for the conference will be Internet skills, sites and social effects:

To make full use of the Internet requires users to build and develop practical skills in a number of areas. A pre-conference workshop for newcomers to the Internet will be available, as well as a series of hands-on workshops including sessions on how to evaluate the quality of information available over the Internet, HTML authoring and using metadata in Web pages. IRISS’98 also welcomes papers on key issues in the areas of user education and Internet skill building.
One of the difficulties Internet users face is knowing just what is available in their subject or area of interest. An Internet Gallery will provide conference delegates with access to some of the key social science Internet services from the academic, government, voluntary and commercial sectors. The conference organisers invite social science information providers to promote their services by giving a paper or having a display in the Internet Gallery.
Social effects
The Internet promises to transform the lives of individuals and society; to what extent have these transformations already taken place? How has the Internet changed people’s daily work? IRISS’98 welcomes papers that describe research into the social impact of the Internet or case studies of how the Internet has impacted their teaching or research.

General conference details

A provisional programme is available from the IRISS’98 website [3].

Submitting an abstract
The deadline for abstracts for the conference is 7 November 1997. Abstracts for papers should be submitted on the submission form and accompanied by a conference booking form.
Displaying at the Internet Gallery
A fully networked computer suite will be available for social science information and service providers to exhibit and promote their sites.
More information
Any queries or requests for further information should be sent to the IRISS’98 Conference Office email: iriss-info@bris.ac.uk

ALISS AGM and update

The Academic Librarians In the Social Sciences (ALISS) group was set up in 1994 to provide a forum for university social science librarians to meet together and discuss matters of mutual interest or keep abreast of developments in the area. After an initial good start the group faltered slightly as some of the founder members left to take up new positions out of the social sciences. However, after expressions of interest were raised about the continuation of the group a revitalisation meeting was held in July of last year and the membership has since expanded.

The Annual General Meeting of ALISS was held in June this year at the University of Manchester. Delegates met the night before the AGM for a night out in Manchester, this began with a search for an appropriate venue for an evening meal and after a couple of false starts ended with a meal in an excellent curry house.

The more serious business began the next day when new officers to the group were elected and a regional steering committee set up (details of these are on the ALISS web site.) It was agreed that the group should promote co-operation with other organisations and societies with similar interests in the UK and internationally. To this end the new chair of ALISS (John Naylor from the University of Warwick) has since approached ASSIG (ASLIB Social Sciences Information Group) and the two groups will hold a joint meeting at the King’s Fund headquarters in London on 20 November 1997 to discuss areas of common ground. Any ALISS members who would like to attend this meeting should contact Steve Lee at the University of Glamorgan (email address given below). ALISS have also established representation on the SOSIG User Group.

It was agreed at the meeting that an annual institutional subscription of £20 should be levied to cover administration costs and allow the group to set up twice yearly events and meetings. Meetings for 1998 were provisionally set for the IRISS’98 conference and the AGM at the University of Warwick.

This years AGM was combined with a MIDAS [4] seminar at the Manchester Computing Centre. MIDAS is a national research support service providing access to online datasets, including the 198191 Census of Population Statistics for Great Britain and other continuous surveys; macro-economic time series databanks and digital map datasets. MIDAS also provides facilities for the storage, access, manipulation and analysis of large and complex datasets for the academic community. The introduction to MIDAS was accompanied by short presentations on two projects also based at Manchester: COPAC [5], a national consolidated online catalogue of university research libraries and the SuperJournal Project [6] which is a consortium of publishers, universities and libraries investigating key issues in providing successful electronic journals. Finally Jose Manuel Barrueco from the NetEc [7] project demonstrated WoPEc - a bibliographic database of economics working papers available over the Internet.

More information on ALISS

There are currently 168 members on the ALISS Mailbase list lis-socialscience. Anyone wishing to join the group should send an e-mail to:

mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk with the message:

join lis-socialscience firstname(s) lastname (replace with your own name)

If you would like more details about ALISS contact Steve Lee at srvlee@glam.ac.uk or take a look at the ALISS website[8].


[1] Institute for Learning and Research Technology


[3] IRISS’98



[6] SuperJournal Project

[7] NetEc


Author Details

Debra Hiom
SOSIG Research Officer
Email: D.Hiom@bristol.ac.uk
Tel: 0117 928 8443