Scholarly Societies Project

Editorial, 2001, March 12:

Improved Worldwide Coverage in the Project

Table of Contents

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The Goal of Increasing Worldwide Coverage

As pointed out in the 2000, March 27 Editorial: The Role of the Scholarly Societies Project, there are two very large subscription-based online directories of societies and assocations:

  • Associations Unlimited published by the Gale Group; it covers associations with a U.S. or international geographical scope, and
  • Yearbook of International Organizations, edited by the Union of International Associations; it covers organizations of international scope.

Neither of these tools covers national societies specific to countries where the mother tongue is not English.

Furthermore, most free large online directories of societies and associations cover very few national organizations from countries where the mother tongue is other than English. Examples include:

A consequence of the above is that access to online information about societies is heavily skewed towards societies from countries where English is the mother tongue.

Although the Scholarly Societies Project has always included societies regardless of their countries of origin, or the languages in which their websites were written, it was realized at the time of the 2000, March 27 Editorial: The Role of the Scholarly Societies Project, that there needed to be a greater effort to increase the proportion of societies from countries other than the ones that at present dominate the Internet, namely the English-speaking ones.

This Editorial is a progress report on that effort.

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Progress in Increasing Worldwide Coverage
The table below summarizes changes in the geographical distribution of societies in the Scholarly Societies Project based on statistics taken on 2000, October 17 and on 2001, March 11.

If you click on the continent name, you will find a detailed breakdown of statistics by country. Once there, if you then click on either a continent name or country name, the search engine will return a list of the societies from that geographical area.

NOTE: the percentages do not add up to 100%, because a number of societies have not yet been assigned a geographical scope (because it was not completely clear what that scope actually is). Virtually all of these are societies from English-speaking countries, where the scope may or may not have been international. As times goes on, more and more of these societies are being assigned geographical scope, but that is proceeding slowly, because the websites do not make this information easy to determine.

Geographical Area
% of
Total

2000
Oct.17
% of
Total

2001
Mar.11
AFRICA .7 .8
ASIA 3.6 4.0
EUROPE 27.0 30.5
INTERNATIONAL 15.4 15.4
NORTH AMERICA 29.6 27.6
OCEANIA 4.2 4.0
SOUTH AMERICA 1.7 2.6

Mother Tongue of the Geographical Area
% of
Total

2000
Oct.17
% of
Total

2001
Mar.11
Other Than English = Africa + Asia + (Europe - Ireland - United Kingdom) + Latin America 25.2 29.8
English = all the rest 74.8 70.2

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Assessment of the Effort to Improve Worldwide Coverage in the Project
The work of the last 5 months has resulted in an increase of 4.6% in coverage of geographical areas where English is not the mother tongue. The percentage of sites from non-English countries now stands at 29.8%

Although progress has been somewhat slow, there are currently over 150 items prepared for adding to the system, the majority of which are from non-English countries. It is hoped that, with diligence, there will eventually be much better representation of societies from countries where English is not the mother tongue.

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Published 2001, March 12
Amended 2004, March 29
Jim Parrott, Editor
Scholarly Societies Project.

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