Intute: a retrospective note

Lorcan 1 min read

Intute is the ‘new face’ of the UK-based Resource Discovery Network. Recently launched, it brings together the various component services of the RDN into a more coherent web presence, from both branding and service points of view. Here is a description from the website blurb:

Intute is a free online service providing access to the very best web resources for education and research. All material is evaluated and selected by a network of subject specialists to create the Intute database.

And further:

Our mission is simple – Intute exists to advance education and research by promoting the best of the Web in one easily accessible place, providing access to quality resources through a process of evaluation and collaboration. [Intute – the new name for the RDN]

It goes on to contrast this ‘quality’ approach to a somewhat caricatural portrayal of search engine experiences.
It is interesting to think about what the appropriate role for libraries, and other organizations, is in this changing environment. How to meet a real need effectively? This has been discussed for some years now, without, I think, coalescing around a shared view.
A historic note. Debra Hiom recently reviewed the history of the RDN in the first of a two part article (second part yet to appear). I have written about the emergence of the RDN in the context of broader current discussion about subject gateways, and, with Derek Law, examined the policy context which led to its setting up. The early stages of the subject gateways were very much associated with the general discussion of networked information and digital libraries that accompanied the eLib initiative.

eLib and the associated digital library activities were a topic of retrospective celebration at the recent JISC/CNI conference. And this is all on my mind because of the discussions at that conference and because I was pleased to share a platform there with Nicky Ferguson who founded Sosig (the Social Science Information Gateway) which pioneered the approach which led to the RDN.Some related articles:

Full disclosure: Dan Greenstein and I were founding co-directors of the RDN.

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