Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Planet-SOSIG: A Variety of Reports

This month Neil Jacobs reports on updates to the Regard service, Martin Poulter introduces a new Economics Assessment Bank and Emma Place highlights the programme of training and outreach conducted by SOSIG this spring.

Getting more from Regard

Regard is the online research service of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It is an essential tool for anyone needing to know about UK social science. There have been some major recent developments on Regard.


Bibliographic information is fine, but users really want to get the actual item, be it a full-text article or a book. Regard is introducing OpenURLs to many of its most popular records, enabling users to go straight to the full text (if it is available online) or, if it is a book, to the appropriate page in Amazon, to read reviews and perhaps order a copy.

Topic search

Every day the Regard team picks a news story, generates a relevant canned search of Regard, and puts the resulting “In the News” item on the front page. Over the years, the team has built up an archive of over 250 regular news topics, which we have now compiled into an A-Z index, which should prove invaluable to those needing to get behind the headlines.


If you need to know about ESRC research that is topical, just starting or just finishing, then sign up to the monthly Regard email newswire. A link from the front page takes you to a simple sign-up where you can pick from the 16 disciplines used by ESRC.

To try out these new services go to http://www.regard.ac.uk/

For more information contact Neil Jacobs at neil.jacobs@bristol.ac.uk

New Assessment Bank from LTSN Economics

Economics LTSN has launched its Assessment Question Bank for Economics Higher Education, with more than 700 questions that you can browse, search and select, shopping-basket style, to create exams and answer-sheets.

This service is free to teachers of Economics in UK Higher Education. We only ask that they supply a small number of their own questions to the bank, which they can do via a link on the question bank home page. This is the first time we have made a “taster” service that is deliberately as frustrating to use as possible, so that people get a hint of how good the service is but are frustrated enough with the limited functionality to register to use the full service. We face a paradox in that we want the benefits of the service to be visible, but it must be a private service, so the taster is one way to deal with that.

The present version of the question bank includes essay questions and multiple-response questions. Future developments will include more question types, questions based on graphics and more options for the finished output. In the future, we hope to add an “import this exam into my VLE” button and other export formats. The system does not handle graphs or mathematical formalism yet, exporting question and answer sheets separately as HTML. Since we want output to be print quality, we’re hoping to generate PDFs to include graphs and equations. Each question is catalogued by educational level, subject and keyword, and we hope to use this as a basis for exchanging foreknowledge with other services.

To try out the question bank taster service go to:


For further information please contact Martin Poulter at m.l.poulter@bristol.ac.uk

SOSIG Training Events and Outreach

SOSIG runs a national programme of training and outreach designed to give those working in the social sciences tips and ideas on Internet skills and training in the use of the key nationally funded Internet services in their field. SOSIG also presents its own service at key events, to help people learn more about what is on offer.

Training events hosted by SOSIG

SOSIG runs a national seminar series called Social Science Online, which includes one-day seminars on key Internet services for different social science disciplines. Each event offers training in a number of key Internet services, with representatives from each service offering an overview, help with hands-on experience of the main features and a re-useable training worksheet that guides you through the service.

Social Science Online

Is now taking bookings for -

Copies of the presentations from all the seminars are available on the Social Science Online Web site, and may be useful for those who do Internet training but were unable to attend these events.

Searching the Social Sciences: Finding the Evidence - a practical workshop using the Internet and online databases

26 May, Queen Mary, University of London

Hosted by the ESRC Centre for Evidence Based Policy and Practice and The Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG). To get further details of these two workshops please email Alan Gomersall at a.gomersall@qmul.ac.uk

SOSIG @ other events

Recent and upcoming events:

CSAP (National Centre for Learning and Teaching for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) Annual Conference 2004: Looking back, taking Stock: Reflecting on five years of learning and teaching, 18 - 20 March, 2004, Birmingham

JISC conference 2004, 23 March 2004

54th Political Studies Association Annual Conference, 5-8 April 2004, University of Lincoln

PLAT 2004: Psychology Learning and Teaching Conference, 5-7 April 2004, University of Strathclyde

BEST: Business and Education Support Team 2004 Conference: Reflection on Teaching: The impact on learning, 14 - 16 April - Edinburgh

If you would like to find out more about forthcoming SOSIG events, please join the sosig mailing list where all our events are advertised.

If you have ideas for other events that SOSIG might usefully attend please contact Emma Place at emma.place@bristol.ac.uk

Author Details

Neil Jacobs
Regard Manager
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1HH

Tel: 0117 928 7057
Email: Neil.Jacobs@bristol.ac.uk

Martin Poulter
LTSN Economics
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1HH

Tel: 0117 928 7086
Email: m.l.poulter@bristol.ac.uk

Emma Place
SOSIG Information Manager
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1HH

Tel: 0117 928 7183
Email: emma.place@bristol.ac.uk

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