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Intute is a free Web service aimed at students, teachers, and researchers in UK further education and higher education. Intute provides access to online resources, via a large database of resources. Each resource is reviewed by an academic specialist in the subject, who writes a short review of between 100 to 200 words, and describes via various metadata fields (such as which subject discipline(s) it will be useful to) what type of resource it is, who created it, who its intended audience is, what time-period or geographical area the resource covers, and so on. In early June 2008 Intute provided 123,381 records. Intute is not to be confused with a simple search engine - it is more like a hand-built directory of 'the best-of-the-web, for academics'.


History of Intute

Intute was formed in July 2006 after the merger of the eight semi-autonomous "hubs" that formed the Resource Discovery Network (RDN). These hubs each served particular academic disciplines:

  • Altis - Hospitality, leisure, sport and tourism
  • Artifact - Arts and creative industries
  • Biome - Health and life sciences
  • EEVL - Engineering, mathematics, and computing
  • GEsource - Geography and the environment
  • Humbul - Humanities
  • PSIgate - Physical sciences
  • SOSIG - Social sciences

The restructuring and rebranding was undertaken to create a service with a more uniform identity and appearance, better cross-searching facilities, and more focused technical and management teams. As part of the restructuring, the eight RDN hubs were reorganised into four subject groups. This process also incorporated the Virtual Training Suite, a series of continually updated, free online Internet training tutorials for over 65 subject areas.

Despite the creation of the new groups, the Intute service is still geographically distributed, with staff based at several UK universities.


Intute is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). Some of the subject groups receive funding from additional sources: Intute Arts and Humanities receives funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The Wellcome Trust is a partner of Intute: Health and Life Sciences and contributes content to this section.


Intute's online database may be searched or browsed using a standard Web browser. The database contains 123,381 records (June 2008) and continues to grow. Old records are reviewed regularly by subject experts to ensure that information is as current as possible. The advanced search engine enables users to search the database by keyword, subject, or resource type, whilst the browse structure enables time period and resource type filtering, as well as the ability to restrict searches to within particular browse headings.

Intute offers a personalisation service, "MyIntute", which enables users to tag records, set up email alerts, export data, and construct remotely-maintained lists of resources that can be used as reading lists.

It also offers the Virtual Training Suite, with over 60 free online tutorials teaching Internet research skills for most of the subjects taught in UK universities and colleges.

The Intute Integration service enables users to customise and export Intute content to their own web pages or VLEs. This includes newsfeeds, an embedded search box and MyIntute (where users can save Intute content in their own online space, tag and export it). Machine-readable interfaces to the database are available using the Z39.50, Search/Retrieve Web Service and OAI-PMH protocols.

A collection of bookmarks showing examples of how universities or colleges have integrated Intute content is available on [1] with the tags: intute, integration, embedding, web2.0 and libraries.

An array of subject-specific additional services are also provided, most of which link back to the central database of resources. These include a science magazine, the vast World Guide geography resource, and a conference and events database.


Intute was awarded the 2007 Jason Farradane Award in recognition of its outstanding work in the field of information science. The award was made on behalf of the UK eInformation Group (UKeiG), part of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). It is sponsored by the Journal of Information Science, published by SAGE Publications.

External links


Harrison, NJ. 2009. Gateway to engineering. Information Scotland. February. Vol 7 (1). p10

Harrison, NJ and Place, E. 2009. The best of the web. Library and Information Update. January/February. pp 48-50

Harrison, NJ. 2008. Raising the profile : Intute Engineering Online Library. TACIT. March 26th

Charnock, L. 2008. Intute: Informs Accessibility. Focus on Mimas, Issue 37, September

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