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Commentary on Encyclopedia of associations (EA)

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Service/portal name: Encyclopedia of Associations via Dialog (File 114); the product is also available directly via Gale as Associations Unlimited.

Source description: The Encyclopedia of Associations is one of the most comprehensive sources of association and organization information available.

The Gale Group publishes a three-volume set annually, but the information is also available as an electronic database through Dialog as File 114.

The Dialog database has the advantage over its print counterpart of providing quarterly updating as well as being searchable via a number of criteria.

Pricing: $0-$100, depending on amount of search time, File source in Dialog.

Source content: The Encyclopedia of Associations database in Dialog contains detailed information on more than 135,000 nonprofit membership organizations.

Coverage is worldwide, representing more than 22,200 national organizations, 22,300 multinational or non-US. organizations, and 115,000 regional, state, or local organizations.

Each association is assigned a subject based on its coverage; subject coverage categories are Trade, Business, and Commercial, Environmental and Agricultural; Legal, Governmental, Public Administration, and Military; Engineering, Technological, and Natural and Social Sciences; Educational; Cultural; Social Welfare; Health and Medical; Public Affairs; Fraternal, Nationality, and Ethnic; Religious; Veterans’, Hereditary and Patriotic; Hobby and Avocational; Athletic and Sports; Labor Unions, Associations, and Federations; Chambers of Commerce and Trade and Tourism; Greek and Non-Greek Letter Societies, Associations, and Federations; and Fan Clubs. Fan Club coverage is for U.S. national organizations only. Regional, State, and Local Organizations are also assigned a U.S. regional destination, such as Great Lake States or Western States.

You can access the Encyclopedia of Associations in Dialog as File 114. A Dialog Bluesheet (http://library.dialog.com/bluesheets/html/bl0114.html) outlines all of the available search fields and indexing terms. You can search by the organization’s name or obtain a custom list of organizations that meet criteria in the search.

For instance, let’s say you need to obtain a list opf associations in Minneapolis that bestow awards and that also maintain a library. You would conduct the search by using the search prefix BA, which is the index term for the fied Bestow Awards.

CY=is the search prefix for City, and LB=is the search prefix for Library. File 114 also allows word and phrase searching, and search criteria can be combined in an infinite number of ways to creat lists of organizations.

The detailed entry information on each association varies. More information is available for larger organizations that for smaller ones, but even entries for small associations can include significant amounts of information.

Organizations represented range in size from less than ten people to many thousands of memberws.

Information available in a typical full-text record includes full organization name and street address, telephone number, description, number of members, number of staff, officer names, SIC code, founding year, and budget, as well as information on annual meetings or conventions, publications issued, libraries maintained, awards bestowed, and section heading code.

Source evaluation: Although there are a few other sources for association information (e.g., see Gateway to Associations in the Key Additional Sources section), the Encyclopedia of Associations is the only one that attempts to be comprehensive.

The print version is updated annually, and the online database on Dialog is updated quarterly. It is a standard source in most library reference collections and offers unique content to the market and industry researcher.

Source value rating: All of the data source reviewers were asked to rate each source on the basis of the following eight categories using “10” as the highest rating and “1” as the lowest (“80” being a perfect score):

1. Relative cost-to-value:   9
2. Relative timeliness of data:  8
3. Relative comprehensiveness of data:  8
4. Ease of use:   8
5. Search options available:  9
6. Level of support services:  9
7. Level of training offered:  5
8. Amount/kinds of special services offered: 5
Total Rating: 61

Useful tips
• The Encyclopedia of Associations can be accessed and used in Dialog (File 114), both in DialogWeb and in the DialogClassic dial-up version.

• Rates charged can be found by searching File 114. Charges will also be listed for each record format (full-text, etc.) by accessing the Dialog Bluesheet or by typing the rate command in the database before searching.

• You may want to save the entire buffer when using Dialog. This provides an edited copy of the search strategy that can be shown to the client if needed.

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