Economics Network CHEER Virtual Edition

Volume 11, Issue 1, 1997

Biz/ed logo * CTI Economics logo *

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 in 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 Gateway), Bill Goffe's Resources for Economists and WebEc.

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:

Biz/ed has funding under eLib to provide the following specifically for higher education:

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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?

Biz/ed is 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 resources is:

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.

The guarantee 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.

CTI Economics

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.

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Figure 2 The CTI Economics Home Page

Getting Involved

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) to 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.

Next Steps

Whatever your interests or time commitment, both CTI Economics and Biz/ed welcome and encourage your involvement:
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