Union of Intelligible Associations (Complementary initiatives and historical context)
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Union of Intelligible Associations



within the framework of the Union of International Associations


A schematic overview of some of the following information is provided in the Projects Overview, which also provides access to extensive commentaries on individual projects

Encyclopedia project initiated in collaboration with Mankind 2000 [see also Encyclopedia project page and succinct overview in Wikipedia]

  • 1972-1976: Yearbook of World Problems and  Human  Potential. Mankind 2000 collaborated from 1972 on a joint project with the Union of International Associations and other organizations in the production of this 1200-page publication (titled as the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential in its subsequent hardcopy, CD-ROM and online editions). Through the framework provided by the periodic publication of this computer-assisted volume it was hoped to initiate a process of continuing dialogue with a wide range of interested groups, leading to improvement and clarification of the information and interrelationships recorded in the interlinked sections of the Yearbook, namely : world problems, international associations and agencies, human values, multilateral treaties, human development concepts, intellectual disciplines, occupations and jobs, multinational corporations, integrative and transdisciplinary concepts, international periodicals, etc.

    Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential

    The first edition, published in 1976, contained some 12,000 entries (including descriptions of 2,600 world problems) interlinked by a network of 58,000 cross-references. Various innovative approaches to presenting this information as "relationship maps" or interactive audiovisual displays are envisaged (including the publication of a "problem atlas").

    The publication was designed as a companion volume to the Yearbook of International Organizations of the Union of International Associations with which it was integrated at the computer level.

  • 1983-1995: Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. Subsequent editions of the Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential, within the framework of collaboration with the Union of Internations Associations took the form of an Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. As an experiment in knowledge management, this collaborative strategic initiative was itself subsequrently named as the Union of Intelligible Associations. The following editions within this initiative were:
      • 2nd edition: initiated in 1983, completed in 1986, as a single volume
      • 3rd edition: initiated in 1988, completed in 1990, as two volumes.
      • 4th edition: initiated in 1992, completed in 1995, as three volumes, with the third on global strategies and solutions, for which essential seed funding was provided on behalf of Mankind 2000. A CD-Rom version was also prepared

  • 1997-2000: Web-based development: With the advent of the world wide web, funding was provided on behalf of Mankind 2000 to enable the UIA to set up and participate in a cooperative providing internet services to international associations from 1995. This became the key for the very early development of the UIA's large website and the Encyclopedia databases it makes freely available thereon. This proven knowledge management capacity enabled the UIA to successfully head a consortium that obtained funding from the European Union for what amounted to a fifth web-based edition of the Encyclopedia: Ecolynx: Information Context for Biodiversity Conservation (major development of online databases with a multimedia emphasis through the EU Information Society programme, approved for funding through to 2000). The project started in 1997 and was completed in 2000 on the initiative of Nadia McLaren. This achievement further enabled the UIA to successfully lead another consortium proposal that was accepted for World Bank funding (although the funds unfortunately had to be reallocated to the crisis in Yugoslavia).

Articulation and implementation of web strategy and the dissemination of hyperlinked database information:

Systematic solicitation of institutional project funding (typically as lead agency in partnership with other bodies), notably the European Commission and the World Bank, primarily on the initiative of Nadia McLaren (with a minimum of formal support or understanding), to develop the online potential of databases, notably leading to the free online dissemination of the Encyclopedia databases from 1997:

The limited response by funding institutions to these substantive proposals by viable coalitions, in comparison with the investment in preparing them, is a strong indication of the problematic nature of the assumptions regarding the utility and viability of knowledge management as exemplified by a Union of Intelligible Associations.

Cessation of the Union of Intelligible Associations as a strategic initiative

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