Web Magazine for Information Professionals

RUDI: Resource for Urban Design Information Services

Alan Reeve maps out a new site in urban design.

RUDI (Resource for Urban Design Information) [1] began in January 1996 and is run jointly by the Engineering Research and Development Centre at the University of Hertfordshire, and the Library of Oxford Brookes University. RUDI is concerned with all aspects of urban design, but in particular physical design, within the Western cultural context.

The project is funded for three years by JISC. The intention is for RUDI to become commercially self- supporting at the end of its grant period by attracting investment, subscription and sponsorship directly from users and contributors.

The project seeks to build up a significant hypermedia collection on the topic of urban design. In order to determine the structure and content of the resource, RUDI has employed a complex management and dissemination strategy. Much like a journal, the project has a steering committee which effectively acts as an editorial board. This is drawn from academics who are expert in the field, publishers and practitioners in urban design. There is also an internal advisory group of four academics from the world renowned Joint Centre for Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University, whose role is to manage more closely the selection and acquisition of material.

Already the site contains several bibliographies, a number of case studies with images and text, an electronic journal (Urban Design Quarterly) [2], and material supplied by the Department of the Environment. The Urban Design Group has given RUDI its source book for publication on the Web. RUDI will contain an independently searchable picture gallery of images generated specifically for the project, or for which copyright agreement has been obtained.

As well as obtaining funding from JISC, topped up by a grant from the British Library, RUDI is supported by ‘one off’ commissions for material. For example we have been working closely with the Faculty of the Built Environment at De Montfort University, which asked us to put together a case study of images, reference and commentary on the city of Barcelona for teaching purposes. Frustrations? We have found it difficult to locate a search tool capable of allowing us to include a meaningful metadata. The team has also had to spend a great deal of time and resources in marking up and technically editing material before it can be made public. This should change in time as we begin to influence the Web publishing process in the field of urban design.


  1. RUDI Web Site,
  2. The quarterly journal of the Urban Design Group,

Author Details

Dr Alan Reeve
Research Associate
email: arreeve@brookes.ac.uk
Tel: 01865 483602
Fax: 01865 483998
Address: Oxford Brookes University Library, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX3 0BP