What is ALISS?

ALISS (Association of Librarians and Information Professionals in the Social Sciences) is a not-for- profit unincorporated professional society. It is an independent group which was formed in April 2005 by the former committee of ASSIGN (Aslib Social Science Information Group and Network).

Membership is open to:

  • Libraries/ information units in all sectors (government, commercial, voluntary sector, academic sector) associated with the social sciences.
  • Information workers/ librarians at all stages of their careers.

Recent Activities

Latest Issue of ALISS quarterly published

Library of Lost Government Content: the latest Aliss Showcase of Key resources for Social Scientists 24th June 2021

  1. Jason Webber, Web Archiving Engagement and Liaison Manager, British LibraryThis presentation aimed to give an overview of what web archives are with a focus on the UK Web Archive.
    Interesting facts : extensive collecting is from 2013 onwards. Earlier collecting from 2005-2013 required owners permission. Everything in the UK domain is collected Once per year as part of an ‘Annual Domain Crawl’ which can takes months to complete
    Selected ‘targets’ (including News) -are gathered daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, Six-monthly. It includes uk domain websites but those hosted on wordpress by Uk authors are excluded unless they notify. There is a cap on what is gathered per website which means some content may be missed
    Useful data sites
    SHINE – 
    This tool was developed as part of the Big UK Data Arts and Humanities project funded by the AHRC.
    The data was acquired by JISC from the Internet Archive (IA) and includes all .uk websites in the IA web collection crawled between around 1996 until April 2013 over 3.5 billion items (urls, images and other documents) and has been full-text indexed by the UK Web Archive. Every word of every website in the collection can be searched for and analysed.
     In 2014 the project awarded bursaries to 10 researchers to carry out research in their subject area using the UK web archive (particularly the dataset derived from the UK web domain crawl 1996-2013). The case studies that they produced showcase the richness of web archives as a source for humanities and other researchers, and are available as open-access publications
    Open data – JISC UK Web Domain Dataset (1996-2013)  contains all of the resources from the Internet Archive that were hosted on domains ending in ‘.uk’, or that are required in order to render those UK pages. 
    Use ‘trends’ to analyse the number of pages a word or phrase appears in the collection over a given period (within 1996-2013). Comparisons can be drawn by adding several words or phrases separated by a comma. E.g. cat, dog, goldfish
  2. Jennie Grimshaw, Government and Official Publications Service and Content Lead, British Library
    Title: The jewels in the crown: curated themed collections on the UK Web Archive
    This presentation discussed the aims and scope of topical and themed collections of archived web sites. It looked in detail at two collections which Jennie developed: the 2015 general election and the subsequent EU referendum. She explored the aims and scope, how they identified and evaluated sites for inclusion, and how they work to assure the quality of the gathers.
    Useful facts: Emphasised the value of careful selection and they seek to improve quality by inspecting the returns and identifying areas of concern, How they select resources they know will gather well. , The problems with collecting items on the cloud, facebook or youtube. It introduced the pandemic collection which includes lockdown sceptics resources and will have great value for future researchers

Norma Menabney Subject Librarian, Queen’s University Belfast
Title: The Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive : extending the reach of official materials.
The presentation explained how the Library at QUB has established a fully searchable database through its processes of harvesting the websites of over 150 official bodies and creating records which are made available to the British Library and other Legal Deposits. In so doing the work allows all parties to meet their legal obligation while Queen’s continues to expand its archival holdings and extend access to the public and global research communities.
Norma emphasised how the archive could support teaching and learning by:
Explaining the governing structure of Northern Ireland; Helping answer ‘which departments are responsible for what subject area; Supporting an understanding of the political and historical landscape; Clarifing Northern Ireland Assembly publishing categories; making output easy to identify – independent inquiries are highlighted in a separate category; including all versions of publications.

ALISS Bitesize recording – our short youtube style recordings of how to trace materials on and about the Global South. Tracing Covid research
Black History Month

Latest issue of Aliss Quarterly now online! articles on information during the pandemic; decolonisation and disability support

Latest ALISS Disability Champions meeting notes  from June Meeting- via slideshare 

they include: Lilian Soon using User research with Disabled Students  at the University of York. Lilian gave an excellent summary on the work of the group
This can be viewed online

Background on user research workshops

Recent issues of our disability Bibliography issue online

Rosamund Lily West image of article in Aliss quarterly

You can view slides from our previous events online

Marilyn Clarke, Goldsmiths University, talking about "Liberate our Library" ALISS AGM 2019
Marilyn Clarke, Goldsmiths University, talking about “Liberate our Library” ALISS AGM 2019

Forthcoming events

Aliss Showcase Key resources for Social Scientists : Oral history Archives: Hidden Voices Online.
3rd November 2.00-4.30pm
 This is the latest in our  new series of ALISS showcases. http://www.alissnet.com.  Our team of experts will provide an introduction to a number of projects which are producing and digitising oral histories giving voices to individuals and communities who may have been ‘hidden from history’ in the past. Find out  the potential values of using oral history as a research resource. Practical tips on discovery and usage will be provided . Slides / links will be sent to participants. Come along to explore these resources
2.00-2.40: British Library Oral History
Since rising to prominence in the social history movement of the 1970s, oral history has become an increasingly visible and used methodology across academic and public history. British Library Oral History Archivist, Charlie Morgan and Reference Specialist, Steven Dryden join ALISS for a session about the history, uses, abuses and developments of oral history. The session will explore collections held at the British Library, and their relationship to alternative social and historical understandings of minority and underrepresented communities. There will be a special focus on the description and cataloguing of oral history collections, as well as how to navigate and reuse them as a researcher.
2.40 – 3.20 Leonard Cheshire Archive  
Stephanie Nield from the Leonard Cheshire Archive will talk about their sound and oral history projects, that have a focus on charity history and the life experiences of charity volunteers and disabled people. She will guide participants through the Leonard Cheshire ‘Rewind’ website where some of the sound and oral history resources can be viewed.
3.40-4.20 Teeside University oral Histories of the North East
Dr Charlie McGuire Senior Lecturer in History at Teesside University  will discuss his experience in oral history research and the way this has helped inform his approach to university teaching. In particular, he will focus on his current project, which is based on oral histories of the 1980 national steelworkers’ strike. These interviews, which have involved steelworkers from several different regions, including Scotland, South Yorkshire, Teesside and the Black Country, have allowed for a much greater insight, not only into a dispute which at the time was the longest national strike in Britain since 1926, but into the much deeper processes of deindustrialisation that accelerated in the years that followed.  Some of these interviews and other, previously completed oral history project materials have been incorporated into a third-year BA History module that Charlie teaches at Teesside, titled ‘Voices of the Street: Oral Histories of the North East, 1945-1990’

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