Directories are lists of people or organizations which are usually arranged alphabetically, though some directories are arranged geographically or by subject. Directories are used to find names, addresses and other contact information for individuals, organizations and businesses. They may also include brief information about products and services. Because addresses and contact information can change frequently, you should keep your directories current. In addition, you can use a good search engine such as Google, http://www.google.com, for directory-type information located on organization Web sites. While every library should have directories to meet the specific needs of their patrons, this section will focus on the most commonly used ready reference directories.
Encyclopedia of Associations. 3 volumes. Gale.
EA is the most comprehensive directory of basic information on organizations in the United States. Each listing includes purpose, meeting dates and location and names of publications in addition to officers and contact information. Gale also publishes International Organizations and Regional, State and Local Organizations. The electronic format of the three titles is known as Associations Unlimited and is available on CD-ROM and the Web. See http://www.galegroup.com for more information.
Telephone books, the best known of all directories, should not be overlooked as a resource for reference work. The government (usually blue) pages can be very useful, as they contain separate listings for city, county, state and federal agencies. The Yellow Pages serve as an index to area business by type; in fact, this is a good source for identifying experts in your community. For example, a patron who wants to know the value of an old book can be referred to a used book store. Telephone directories generally include additional useful information such as street maps, cultural attractions, and events calendars.
Nowadays most libraries provide out-of-area telephone directory information from Web sites. Information offered includes names, addresses, and phone numbers of both business and residential customers. Additional information may include reverse look-up listings by phone number and address, maps, and driving instructions from one location to another. Among the many Web phone directories, three commonly used are Infospace, http://www.infospace.com, Switchboard, http://www.switchboard.com, and AT&T, http://www.att.com/directory. You should become familiar with several of these directories so you know which features each provides.
Polk city directories, put out originally by R. L. Polk & Co., are now published annually by Equifax, Inc., The main section lists residents and businesses alphabetically. A business directory, arranged by business type, includes number of employees and key personnel. Two reverse directories list entries by telephone number and by street address. The section on detailed maps has a street map index. The last section is a demographic summary with information that can be difficult to find elsewhere. For example, income, household age, home values and other facts are broken down by zip codes and carrier route. These directories are an excellent resource for marketing information for larger towns and their surrounding areas.
Three specialized directories that can be especially helpful in libraries are:
Idaho Library Directory. Idaho Commission for Libraries.
Maintained by the Idaho Commission for Libraries, this directory of libraries in Idaho includes the director's name, library address, hours of operation, phone and fax numbers, e-mail address, and links to the Web site and catalog, if available. It may be found at: http://www.lili.org/directory.
American Library Directory. 2 volumes. Information Today,
Information on libraries in the United States and Canada includes contact information, statistical data, and special collections. Arrangement in this annual publication is by state or province and then by city. It is also available on CD-ROM and online by subscription; go to: http://www.americanlibrarydirectory.com/.
Literary Market Place: the Directory of the American Book Publishing
Industry. Information Today, Inc.
This annual directory is a useful tool for locating people or organizations who publish, review, edit, translate, illustrate, print, publicize, distribute, and export books. It is also available on CD-ROM and online by subscription; information is available at: http://www.literarymarketplace.com/lmp/us/index_us.asp.
The nature of directories is that most of them are subject-specific. While the directories discussed here are general or library-oriented in nature, most libraries also find certain types of subject directories useful. Some examples are:
Business or product directories:
Thomas Register - in print, CD- or DVD-ROM, and on the Web (at no cost) at: http://www.thomasregister.com, this lists almost 175,000 manufacturers searchable by company name, brand name and product.
Hoover's - the main Web site at: http://www.hoovers.com provides both free and subscription information on a wide range of companies. A number of print directories are also available.
Idaho Education Directory - Published annually, this directory provides a current listing, by county, of public school districts and schools, administrators and school board members, plus Department of Education specialists and services. See http://www.sde.state.id.us/admin/eddirectory.
Peterson's Guides - These are annual directories which list and describe U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities. There are guides for two-year, four-year, and graduate schools, available in print, on CD-ROM, and on the Web (free) at: http://www.petersons.com.
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