Volume 11, Issue 1, 1997
Economics on the Internet: an opportunity to get involved
- Ros O'Leary and Catherine Sladen
- University of Bristol
Surfing the Internet (the web) can often be a time-consuming, unproductive
and frustrating experience. Even using a search engine such as Alta Vista
can seem unmanageable simply due to the sheer volume of material on the
web (see Richard Young's paper
the last volume of CHEER - Volume 10 Issue 3).
Information Gateways - sites which catalogue resources available on the
web for a given audience - can be effective in taking the pain and the
time-wasting out of surfing and searching. Instead of spending hours
trawling through search engines desperately thinking of search terms and
synonyms, only to come up with an eclectic mixture of bizarre and mostly
irrelevant sites, the information gateway can provide an easy-to-find
listing of quality resources.
Economists are generally well supported by information gateways such as SOSIG
(Social Sciences Information
Goffe's Resources for Economists
Biz/ed is also an information gateway, dedicated to serving the one
million economics and business studies students and staff in the UK.
Biz/ed is more than an information gateway, however. Biz/ed also:
- includes unique information sources
- provides teaching and learning material
- aims to network economics and business educators
Biz/ed has funding under eLib to provide the following specifically for
- database of Internet resources for economics and business
- an online HE glossary covering technical terms
- provision of materials for assessment
- modest experiments in virtual classrooms
- links to materials to support open learning
- new online primary information services
Figure 1 The biz/ed Home Page
Why list more Internet resources?
One of Biz/ed's aims for economics and business in higher education is to provide a comprehensive database of Internet resources. It could be argued that adequate economics resources can be found already at existing information gateways. So why is Biz/ed
aiming to provide another listing of economics resources?
particularly concerned with quality, and as a result has a unique approach
to and a unique service to offer economists. Biz/ed's database of Internet
- Constituency wide
using the ROADs database system
For example, Biz/ed is currently
working closely with the Association of Business Schools to ensure that
the needs of the business academic community are met. This has been
facilitated by the location and co-operation of Trusted Information
Providers (TIPs); colleagues who, according to their own specific subject
knowledge, locate, assess and catalogue quality educational resources of
interest to business educators. Collectively these colleagues possess a
large mix and range of different business specialisms.
of quality is reinforced by the collaboration
between electronic projects which are located at the Institute for
Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol: Biz/ed, SOSIG
and DESIRE (Development of a European Service for Information on Research
and Education). Learning from the experience of more mature information
gateways, Biz/ed has been able to build upon work that has already taken
place regarding classification, quality assurance and selection policies.
The cataloguing of Internet resources using a set of software tools called
ROADS is a model which has
been developed by SOSIG and adopted by biz/ed. ROADS allows Internet
resources to be fully described, allowing the end-user to judge relevance
before trying to access them. The searchable and browsable database that
results gives the end-user a friendly interface from which to locate
useful Internet resources.
The CTI Centre for Economics, whose remit is to encourage the use of
learning technologies in economics in higher education, is currently
developing its website. As part of the site's development, CTI Economics
will be working with Biz/ed to help provide high quality economics
resources over the Internet. With its remit in mind, CTI Economics will be
aiming to catalogue quality resources that can be used in particular for
teaching and learning. The intention is that Biz/ed and CTI Economics will
then share their resources, with access from both sites.
In addition, the centre will also be looking to provide guidance and
advice on how to use the Internet and computer based learning.
Figure 2 The CTI Economics Home Page
In order to meet the needs of economists, CTI Economics and
Biz/ed are looking to the economics academic community to share their
bookmarks and knowledge of quality economics resources. Interested
parties from all disciplines of economics are sought to further this joint
project. Involvement can be at any level - from emailing a recommended
resource to us direct (via a WWW
form located on the CTI Economics website or another on Biz/ed
receiving on-line training in how to catalogue quality Internet resources.
The CTI website is also looking to provide a focus using technology in teaching, and needs interested parties to contribute and share advice, tips and materials.
Whatever your interests or time commitment, both CTI Economics and Biz/ed welcome and encourage your involvement:
- Email recommended resources via the WWW form on CTI Economics
or via Biz/ed
- To receive on-line training on how to catalogue quality Internet resources please contact Kate Sharp by email on Kate.Sharp@bristol.ac.uk or at the following address:
Institute for Learning and Research Technology
University of Bristol
8-10 Berkeley Square
Bristol, BS8 1HH
Tel: +44 (0)117 928 7189
Fax: +44 (0)117 928 7112
- To share advice, tips and materials on using technology in teaching please contact the centre.
Please contact either CTI Economics or Biz/ed at the above addresses with any queries or questions, whatever the level of involvement in mind.