Web Magazine for Information Professionals

What's in PSIgate for Further Education?

John Blunden-Ellis describes the materials and services available from the RDN subject service PSIgate in respect of students and practitioners in FE.

PSIgate [1] is the physical sciences hub of the RDN and provides free access to a fully searchable catalogue of high-quality resources on astronomy, chemistry, earth sciences, materials, physics, and history/policy of science.

PSIgate provides a range of material suitable for use by FE. All the services within PSIgate are interlinked to allow links to be followed and further information on chosen topics to be discovered. PSIgate aims to provide a service that is always "two clicks away from rich information" and is particularly rich in full-text tutorials, lecture notes and subject guides, many of them relevant to FE study.

Virtual Training Tutorials

In conjunction with other hubs of the RDN, PSIgate maintains free eLearning tutorials on the Web that teach Internet information skills. Originally written with HE students in mind, they have, however, proved of use to those studying FE courses. There are three single subject tutorials [2] maintained by PSIgate:

Interactive Tutorials and Quizzes

PSIgate provides access to a 92-page chemistry tutorial [3] that covers all basic physical science concepts by posing questions and providing a complete solution by double clicking on the appropriate key. There is also a more advanced chemistry online tutorial [4].

PSIgate has developed a number of science quizzes [5] as part of fun science - that aim to illustrate basic principles of science. Quizzes cover such topics as: Chocaholics, chemical confusion, volcanoes, magic moments, nuclear science, and space.

Science Timelines

PSIgate has one of the largest science timelines on the Web with over 1,000 entries. The timeline can be searched as one list, or as separate lists for each of the subjects covered by PSIgate: Astronomy, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Materials Science, and Physics.

Spotlight Magazine

Spotlight Magazine currently contains nearly 60 news features on all aspects of current issues in science. Articles are also well illustrated, are provided with online references and are linked to relevant PSIgate catalogue searches. The Spotlight articles can be searched by keyword, or browsed by subject. Spotlight has won two Golden Web Awards.

Spotlight is a valuable source for project ideas and contains such topics as: Slip Sliding Away - on oceanic volcanoes; Corrosion - Just Say No - on polymers in shampoos and how they may prevent leaks in oil and gas pipelines; A Closer Look at a Near-Miss - about an asteroid near-miss; Finding Amino - about amino acids.

Case studies for FE

In common with the other hubs, PSIgate offers a series of case studies on how resources in the PSIgate catalogue may be applied to and adapted for teaching and learning use. These case studies have been developed in collaboration with FE practitioners. Topics covered include:




Internet Resource Catalogue

The PSIgate catalogue has many full-text tutorials, lecture notes and essays appropriate to FE learning and teaching. Currently there are:

512 tutorials in chemistry
422 tutorials in physics/astronomy
136 tutorials in earth sciences
215 tutorials in materials

Future plans

As with other hubs, PSIgate will be expanding its Further Education coverage during 2004 with the addition of approximately 700 new records of particular relevance to the sector. Further records, tagged for FE from the existing PSIgate database, will also be added.


  1. PSIgate Web site http://www.psigate.ac.uk/
  2. PSIgate Training Resources - Tutorials http://www.psigate.ac.uk/newsite/training.html
  3. PSIgate Introductory University Chemistry Course 1 http://www.psigate.ac.uk/newsite/reference/plambeck/chem1/ua101.html
  4. PSIgate Introductory University Chemistry Course 2 http://www.psigate.ac.uk/newsite/reference/plambeck/chem2/ua102.html
  5. PSIgate science quizzes http://www.psigate.ac.uk/roads/cgi-bin/quiztest.cgi

Author Details

John Blunden-Ellis
Service Manager
PSIgate & Gesource

Email: j.blunden-ellis@man.ac.uk
Web site: http://www.psigate.ac.uk/

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