Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Planet SOSIG: Keeping Social Scientists Connected

Debra Hiom and Emma Place discuss work to keep social scientists connected.

Grapevine is the 'people oriented' side of SOSIG, offering the social science community a place to look at and publicise information about events, career development opportunities and professional colleagues. Grapevine began life in 1998 as an ESRC funded pilot project and was brought under the auspices of SOSIG in February 2000 with the launch of the new interface and associated services of the gateway.

You can use Grapevine to find:

Similarly you can use Grapevine to publicise information to the social science community:

Getting Connected

All of the information stored on Grapevine can be browsed and searched from the following URL:


If you want to post information or to customise SOSIG to create your own, tailored SOSIG information services you will need to set up an account on SOSIG. This will enable you to:

Also or a limited period SOSIG Account Holders will receive a 20% discount on the purchase of selected books published by Oxford University Press.

How to set up an Account on SOSIG

Setting up a personal account on SOSIG will cost you nothing and only involves a few simple steps:

  1. On the SOSIG Home Page find the My Account section on the left of your screen and select "New user: Register" option.
  2. On the Registration page enter your personal details and a username and password and select the Register button at the bottom of the page.
  3. The next screen will tell you whether you have successfully created an account. If not, go back and fill in mandatory fields. If you have, select the Enter My Account link.
  4. You will need to login to your account by entering your username and password.
  5. You will then see your own personal page on SOSIG. From this point you can now decide how you would like to use this feature of SOSIG. One of the first things you should do is set up a personal profile so that you can get information that is tailored to your own personal interests

Creating a Personal Profile

To receive many of the benefits of the My Account feature you will need to set up a personal profile. Your profile will be used to tailor some of the SOSIG services to have particular relevance to your interests.

It will be used to tailor the messages you get via the Email Alerting Service to match your interests. It will also be used to allow you to find information that matches your profile on your My Account page (i.e. conferences, courses and like-minded "friends" for your preferred subject areas). There are over 3500 thousand social scientists currently subscribed to My Account and this is growing steadily.

Choosing Channels

The My Account feature on SOSIG enables you to set up a personal, customised Web page on SOSIG that points to selected information from various information providers offering RSS (Rich Site Summary) channels or newsfeeds. Channels are a Web technology that allows us to display information from many different sources in the same Web page. Social science Web information providers are increasingly making information available via channels. SOSIG will enable you to select the channels and information you would like to view from your Account page. These currently include the Guardian Unlimited, What's New from Sociological Research Online, The UK Data Archive and JSTORNews.

More Information

If you would like to find out more about setting up an account on SOSIG see:


Or contact Debra Hiom at the address below.

Regard: Access to UK Social Science Research


Regard is a Web-based database that helps users locate and explore the research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK's largest independent funding agency for research into social and economic issues. The database currently holds over 65,000 records, dating back to the early eighties and is updated weekly, ensuring that the very latest research is included. Regard is publicly and freely available at www.regard.ac.uk

New developments

In September 2000 the Regard Web site was redesigned, based on feedback from our users. Particular attention was paid to the way users can search Regard and we now offer a variety of search options:

We have also introduced a login facility to allow users to manage their searches and results. Once you login, using your email address, you are able to:

Database content

You can search Regard to find information on:

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Figure 1. Example of an award record, providing details of a research project

Searching Regard

With a large database it is essential that the searching facilities are both powerful and easy to use. Our redesigned Web site offers a variety of search options:

· Simple keyword searching using the basic search (see Figure 2)

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Figure 2. Home page showing search options

· Advanced search options to build a more specific search (see Figure 3)

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Figure 3. Advanced search

· Browse the index of personal names to find all records for a particular researcher
· Accessing the latest research only. Search the database using project start/end dates and publication dates. If required, you can refine your search by also using keywords to build up a search such as: "Show me research projects ending this year that are about social exclusion"
· Browsing the ESRC Research Centres and Programmes. This allows you to see all records for individual research centres and programmes and link to their Web sites (see Figure 4)

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Figure 4. Partial list of ESRC research centres

Most users find Regard easy to use, but extensive help is available from our Web site. A help desk is also available by emailing regard-help@bristol.ac.uk or telephoning 0117 928 7194. If you would like to know more about Regard please contact us at:

Institute for Learning & Research Technology
University of Bristol, 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HH
Regard is publicly available without subscription at: www.regard.ac.uk

Author Details

Debra Hiom
SOSIG Co-Director
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1HH
Email: d.hiom@bristol.ac.uk
Tel: 0117 928 7117
Fax: 0117 928 7112
Alison Parker
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1HH
Email: regard@bristol.ac.uk
Tel: 0117 928 7194
Fax: 0117 928 7112