Computer-based reference services have now become a basic requirement for the academic community. The journals published in India and other developing countries are not, however, adequately covered in the international packages. The Corporate Studies Group (CSG - precursor to ISID) made a beginning to bridge this gap way back in the early 'eighties. CSG created two databases by indexing the contents of a few important economic journals and articles & reports published in select Indian newspapers primarily to meet its own research needs.
Based on the feedback from fellow academics and in a spirit to promote informed discussions on developmental issues among policy analysts, CSG started sharing this novel utility with others. To begin with, researchers were provided search results from the databases as printouts and through e-mail. ISID carried this further and published the indexes of select economic journals. Two volumes covering Economic and Political Weekly and Sixteen Economic Journals were released at the Annual Conferences of the Indian Economic Association held at Gwalior (1996) and Hyderabad (1997) respectively. The Indian Economic Association Trust for Research & Development sponsored these publications. The Volume on the Indian Journal of Labour Economics was released at the Trivandrum Conference of the Indian Society of Labour Economics (1998).
Due to their proven utility for researchers, teachers, students and other academics, these databases were made available to the academic community through the Institute's website. The necessary infrastructure for the website was provided by the National Informatics Centre. The University Grants Commission also extended its support to this effort. Gradually, the coverage of the databases has got enlarged to include journals from the fields of education, sociology, management and inter-disciplinary areas. Consequently, from a single journal in mid-eighties, the coverage has now expanded to 175 journals.
Computer-based reference services have become a basic requirement for the academic communities in developed societies. In order to improve the referencing of Indian social science literature, besides offering the OLI and PCI on its website, ISID has decided to offer the databases and other useful reference material in the form of what is called ISID Research Reference CD (RRCD). The RRCD has the following main components.
- Index to articles, discussion notes, editorials and reports appearing in 175 Indian journals in the fields of economics, finance, management, political science, history, education, health, sociology, gender issues, communication, etc. The number of references in this section is nearly 1.7 lakh.
- Index to signed articles and write-ups published in 15 English language daily newspapers from 1990. The number of references covered are around 11.7 lakh.
- Select policy documents like Union Budget Speeches, Sections of Economic Survey, key statistics on the Indian economy and Global Development Indicators.
- Website addresses of important institutions and organisations relevant for social scientists.
The coverage of the RRCD is the largest in India in terms of the number of journals and the number of references. Encouraged by the response to the release of the RRCD from scholars, M.Phil./Ph.D. students, teachers, media persons, policy analysts, financial institutions, government officials and NGOs, the Institute releases RRCD every year with updated versions.
Suggestions for improvement and pointing out the inaccuracies in the CD are welcome and shall be acknowledged.
Search can be made either on an author's name or on a string (sequence of any characters) in the titles of the references. Search results are displayed in reverse chronological order so that one can view the latest references first. The advantage of 'string' is that it obviates the need for pre-classification and gives the user full freedom to search among all the references by choosing strings/words which describe the subject under consideration. The search is not case sensitive. The programme automatically capitalizes the search strings. The search results can either be printed or saved to the floppy/hard disk. Author(s) names have not been standardised to avoid improper identification.