A major new network of discipline-based gateways or "hubs" has been set up to provide students, lecturers and researchers with better access to high quality resources on the Internet. The Resource Discovery Network (RDN) catalogues and provides links to web sites containing a wide range of educational materials, whether they are electronic journals, database records, bibliographies or teaching resources. All the resources in the network have been selected by subject experts, who provide in-depth descriptions of their quality, utility and reliability. Users can either access these resources via the individual hubs or, by taking advantage of the RDN's sophisticated cross-searching software, run interdisciplinary searches across the entire network. The RDN also offers academics and lecturers the opportunity to forward their own resources (including articles, databases and newsletters) to the relevant hubs, allowing them to reach a wider audience.
Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc), the RDN is organised into five hubs, some of which already existed as subject-based gateways. The RDN covers Medicine and the Life Sciences; Engineering, Computing and Mathematics; the Humanities; the Physical Sciences; and the Social Sciences, Business and Law. A hub for the Creative Arts and Industries will be added at a later date.
Because of the variety of resources it catalogues, the RDN will be relevant to non-academics working in related professional fields, such as medicine or engineering. The RDN is expected to develop significant links beyond academia. Many of the hubs have been developed in partnership with learned societies and related professional and cultural institutions. The RDN will continue to establish partnerships in both the public and private sectors in order to expand, creating opportunities for content provision and funding.
The RDN hubs are based at various universities around Britain:
- BIOME (Medicine and Life Sciences) is led by the University of Nottingham
- Humbul (Humanities) is led by the University of Oxford
- EMC (Engineering, Mathematics and Computers) is led by Heriot-Watt University
- PSIgate (Physical Sciences) is led by CALIM, the Consortium of Academic Libraries In Manchester
- SOSIG (Social Sciences, Business and Law) is led by the University of Bristol
The RDN is presently funded by the Jisc, the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
The RDN is managed by the RDN Centre, based at King's College, London and The University of Bath.