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SOSIG: Social Science Information Gateway

Project web site

Programme area
Access to Network Resources

Contact details
Nicky Ferguson, Project Manager,
Institute for Learning and Research Technology University of Bristol 8 Woodland Road Bristol BS8 1TN
Phone: 0117 928 8471 Fax: 0117 928 8473

Project description

as of 4th January 1996


The rapid expansion of the Internet and global networked information resources is making it increasingly difficult for users to navigate through the networks and find useful materials. The Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG) allows social science researchers and practitioners to discover and easily to access relevant high-quality networked resources worldwide. It also provides a comprehensive list of relevant UK-based resources.


SOSIG points to hundreds of resources on subjects ranging from Anthropology to Statistics. To compile SOSIG, all kinds of networked resources worldwide are scanned, including mailing lists and news-groups, guides and catalogues, databases, search tools and other networked services. Only those of high quality and relevance are catalogued and made available via the SOSIG list of quality worldwide resources. A comprehensive list of UK-based resources, with descriptions, is also provided.

The search facility is an important feature of SOSIG. This allows users to search our local database of resource descriptions and keywords rapidly and builds a unique list of descriptions and dynamic links based on the user's search terms.

SOSIG caters for both experienced and new network users: brief descriptions allow users to assess whether the resource will really be of use to them before connecting but short-cut buttons are available for regular users to allow them to bypass the description. The project is also involved in promoting awareness of these networked information resources through a programme of training and support.

Access via a www client
SOSIG is available on the World Wide Web (WWW). If you have access to a WWW client (eg Netscape, Mosaic or Lynx) you can access SOSIG at:

Access via telnet
If you do not have a WWW client you can access the SOSIG server by using telnet to connect to SOSIG. This will give you a text-based interface to the service. To do this, make a telnet connection to: and login as: sosig


The main objectives of the SOSIG project focus on improving the accessibility of relevant, quality information, promoting the service and encouraging new networked information providers. SOSIG will serve as a test-bed for developments in networked resource tools technology and project staff will provide training and training materials specifically tailored for subject specialists in both paper and on-line form. Evaluation of subject-based services such as SOSIG and the efficacy and efficiency of the training provided are also important aspects of the project.


  • A demonstrator service providing a thorough-going practical investigation into the issues of scale in providing a service aimed at a particular section of the academic community.
  • Documentation, hands-on training workshops and training materials, both class-based and self-paced, specifically tailored for subject specialists.
  • Subject-based user guides to selected quality networked resources.
  • Report on how the use of a national subject-based service at a variety of HEIs has affected the working patterns of the users and the delivery and uptake, throughout the institutions, of library and other learning and research related information.

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The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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