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

Knowledge Management

within a strategic reframing of the Union of International Associations (2005)

[reframe index]

Integrated databases

There is a unique degree of integration to the content of UIA information. Technically, this follows from the continuing development of software and hardware in relation to the internet. From a content perspective, the degree of integration derives from the extent to which the many databases are directly or indirectly interlinked. This integration offers, potentially, a degree of synergy between UIA information products that may increasingly constitute its principle advantage over many other available products and services. Whilst such initiatives may be able to offer more, or even higher quality, information in certain areas -- none can offer the degree of integration between them.

The UIA has successfully integrated most of its disparate online databases into a common framework

Inter-related databases are maintained on over 30,000 world problems, 40,000 intergovernmental and nongovernmental (NGO) organizations (and their meetings), 39,000 organizational action strategies, as well as on 3,000 human values and 5,000 approaches to human development, as well as integrative concepts, and metaphors of relevance to governance. Items in each database are extensively hyperlinked amongst themselves and to other databases. URLs are provided to over 15,000 Internet resources of international bodies.

This integration offers, potentially, a degree of synergy between UIA information products that may increasingly constitute the principle advantage of the UIA information over other products and services. The key point here is that whilst other initiatives may be able to offer more, or even higher quality, information in certain areas - none can offer the degree of integration between them, which effectively serves to protect individual services that would otherwise be vulnerable in a competitive market.

The key question for the UIA is how to promote the relevance of this integration and synergy for users. The core argument is that in an increasingly complex society, single issue approaches to information are of limited strategic relevance when successful campaigns must seek strategic windows of opportunity that strike a balance between the interests of multiple stakeholders.

International organizations

This cumulative dataset holds profiles on some 62,000 intergovernmental (IGO) and nongovernmental (NGO), nonprofit "international organizations". It was was first set up in 1905. Since 1948 it has been published as the Yearbook of International Organizations: Guide to global civil society networks, maintained electronically since the mid-1970s (and on the UIA LAN since 1985). It has been disseminated over the web since 2000. Editions in French have also been produced. There are 62,000 interlinks between organization profiles. The UIA has an inclusive approach to what it profiles, focusing on bodies that indicate a balance of activities in three or more countries. However, it extends its coverage at a lower priority to bodies that are primarily national with some international activities. It is especially attentive to bodies of unusual form that challenge any simple criteria: networks, clubs, hybrids, "non-organizations", information systems, religious orders, funds, non-membership bodies, etc. It covers bodies with every kind of human activity and concern, provided they themselves are non-profit, irrespective of whether the objective of the members is primarily for-profit. This coverage allows the definitional issues of the subsets constituting the community of civil society bodies, NGOs, voluntary associations, citizens groups, etc, to be answered by users rather than being imposed as part of the registry activity.

International meetings

This dataset covers some 300,000 meetings back to 1681 and includes meetings of international organizations (to which it links) as well as other international meetings. Since 1947, data on future meetings has been published quarterly or annually in the International Congress Calendar, possibly with monthly supplements. It has been disseminated over the web since 2004.

Bibliographies

The UIA has a very long tradition of bibliographical research, whether with respect to studies about international organization or publications (especially periodicals) by international organizations and notably with respect to their conference proceedings. This research has now been focused in the annual production of Bibliography and Resources (Volume 4 of the Yearbook of International Organizations). This information is also made available annually on CD-ROM and online.

Biographies

Since 1992 the UIA has provided biographical profiles of the principal executives of international nonprofit organizations through a succession of editions of a Who's Who in International Organizations - currently also available on CD and via the web. Electronically this information is linked to and from the relevant organizations. This cumulative dataset provides 14,200 profiles of the chief executives (current and past) of international organizations (to/from which it is linked).

World problems

This cumulative dataset of 59,100 problem profiles was first developed in the period 1972-76 as a feature of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. It has since been updated through a number of projects, most recently with funding from the European Commission (1997-2000). The "problems" or "issues" are those recognized by international constituencies, notably those in the international organizations dataset. Some 128,600 (hyper)links are provided to bibliographical entries, organization entries, hierarchically related problems (broader, narrower, related), functional related problems (aggravating and aggravated by); reducing and reduced by). Profiles are linked to those in the dataset on the strategies that address them. The profiles of some 56,400 problems (with 265,300 links) are now made freely available over the web - embedded in an evolving network of hyperlink relations between them. The information for these profiles is obtained from the documents of international bodies or from others in the public domain. The focus is on profiling the problem and extending the range of problems registered. Links from problems to organizations (and their websites) are given when the concern is specific. Since many of the problems are highly controversial to some, attention is specifically given to the inclusion of "counter-claims" denying the arguments substantiating the problem. This is done to hold the often vigorous dynamics between constituencies within the community of organizations. Every effort is made to embody the language and perspective of the bodies sensitive to such problems - rather than to reframe the arguments within a particular ideological framework.

Global strategies

This cumulative dataset of 42,000 strategy profiles was first developed in the period 1984-86 as a feature of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (having first completed a substantial exercise to this end in 1921). Since 1994, the UIA has been assiduous in registering the strategies advocated by international constituencies. It has since been updated through a number of projects, most recently with funding from the European Commission (1997-2000). The "strategies" are those recognized or advocated by international constituencies, notably those in the international organizations dataset. 33,000 strategies (with 240,000 links) *** Some 173,000 (hyper)links are provided to bibliographical entries, organization entries, hierarchically related strategies (broader, narrower, related), functional related strategies (aggravating and aggravated by); reducing and reduced by). Profiles are linked to those in the dataset on the problems they address. Attention is specifically given to the inclusion of "counter-claims" denying the arguments in support of the strategy.

Human development

From 1972, the UIA has endeavoured to register the range of approaches to human development that is often the declared, or underlying, objective of strategies advocated by individual organizations. These have been profiled in a succession of editions of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. The profiles of some 4,800 understandings of human development, and any associated modes of awareness, are now made freely available over the web - embedded in an evolving network of hyperlink relations between them. Holds 4,458 profiles of concepts of human development (1407) and associated modes of awareness (3049), as advocated by various international constituencies (possibly associated with the strategies of international organizations, spiritual movements, or psychotherapeutic disciplines). Over 15,200 interlinks.

Human values

From 1972, the UIA has endeavoured to register the most comprehensive range of human values because of the manner in which they underlie ability to perceive problems and guide strategies in response to them. These have been profiled in a succession of editions of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. The profiles of some 3,200 human values are now made freely available over the web - embedded in an evolving network of hyperlink relations between them. In contrast with the other profiles above, this information is an experiment in responding to the poly-semantic nature of value-terms that is often at the origin of international misunderstanding. Holds 3,250 entries, extensively interlinked to address the challenge of synonyms, antonyms (constructive and destructive values), and experimental clustering into some 250 "value polarities". Entries link to relevant problems and to concepts of human development. When displayed, links to organizations and strategies associated with such values can also be generated. Over 23,200 interlinks.

Integrative concepts

From 1972, the UIA has endeavoured to register the most comprehensive range of unitary or transdisciplinary concepts because of their fundamental role in understanding the nature of any intyegrative approach to the challenges of world governance.Some have been profiled in a succession of editions of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. Some 719 profiles descriptive of a wide range of understandings of integration, interdisciplinarity, unity, etc. are now made avaiulable on the web.

Logos, emblems

In addition to intellectual property issues associated directly with their URLs, international organizations are increasingly challenged by issues of use and abuse of their logos -- as well as obtaining guidance on designs as yet unused. The UIA responded to this in 1997 by producing a World Guide to Logotypes, Emblems and Trademarks of International Organizations containing the logos of 4,300 international organizations. This information is made available on the web and linked to the organization profiles.

Statutes of international associations

As an extension of its registry activity in profiling international bodies, the first edition of a compilation of the legal statutes of these bodies was produced in 1984 as International Association Statutes, but proved uneconomical. Links are currently provided to the websites of the organizations.


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