Computer-based Information Centre on Organizations and Entities
Criteria, Coding, Processing Requiements and System Implications
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Annex VII to the report entitled: Need for a world management
information network -- to assist initiation and coordination of global development
programmes. This Annex was also distributed as Criteria, Coding, Processing
Requiements and System Implications for a Computer-based Information Centre
on Organizations and Entities
Comments on other possible entities
Entity description and card types
Relationship between dependent, independent, continuing and temporary
Entity identification numbers
Card coding system
* Geographical codes
* Name cards
* Extracts from PRIO coding
* Special coding for entity types
* Geographic link cards
* Inter-entity link cards
The following factors guided decisions on the design of the
1. The file structure should not stress unnecessarily the difference
between types of organization (or link between organizations) since, whatever
definitions are used, different types blend into one another on some dimensions
whilst being distinct on others. Similarities between types may be greater
than diferences. Accepted and conventional distinctions should be possible
but should not distort the file structure. This is the only possible means
of making the file useful to a wide variety of researchers and decision-makers
interested in the functions performed by overlapping classes of organization.
2. A sequential file of data on organizations is completely insufficient
in terms of resent and expected future demands for information. The file musttherefore
provide means of showing the links between organizations. This form of cross-referencing
within the file is the first step towards representing a variety of 'flows'
3. A network file structure can therefore be conceived as made up of nodes
and links. The nodes can be organizational entities of any kind, programmes
independent of any particular organization, treaties, meetings, etc. The links,
whether input or output, are the channels along which the node receives (or
transmits) information, funds, non-financial aid, recommendations, etc. Such
links may also represent the memberships relationship of 'members' of the
node. Links in this general sense can also represent consultative, collaborative,
informal and other relationships as necessary.
4. The network file structure should facilitate use of an adaptation of the
network and input/output analysis techniques employed in operational research
and analysis of electrical networks. Since these techniques have not yet been
adapted to this use, the consequences for the file design are simply to separate,
to the extent possible, coding relating to node characteristics (static) from
those relating to link performance (frequency, volume, type). Provision should
be made for the inclusion of coding which world reflect the maximum number
of dimensions along which communication and collaboration can break down.
The objective of this type of approach is to maximize the possibility of constricting
models which would be partly quantitative and predictive as suggested by Karl
Leutsch (Nerves of Government, p.126-7):
'A part of this development would be the application of cybernetic
concepts to the system, making larger and more explicit use of time variables
as well as of probabilistic and statistical considerations. This would mean,
among other things, the measurement or estimation of the extent and probable
distribution of imbalances in the transaction flows, of the corresponding
loads upon the equilibrating or adjusting mechanisms in the subsystems; of
the lags, gains, and leads in their responses; and hence of the probable stability
and future states of the entire system and its parts.'
5. Associated with the long-term requirement of systematic network analysis
is the simplerrequirement that the file structure should facilitate
detection of weaknesses (as defined by the user) in coordination or communication
between organizations concerned with the same or related problem areas, in
order that such bodiescould be notified of each others activities.
6. Aside from the problem of distinctions between organizations based on
conventional definitions of formal organization types, similar problems arise
in attempting to distinguish between permanent bodies and temporary bodies,
and between independent and dependent or internal bodies (within an organizational
A temporary structure such as an independent meeting or a programme may be
considered to have an important integrative effect starting from the time
it is proposed (and papers are called for) to the time the report or recommendations
are finally available as a stimulus to further effort. The complete cycle
may in seme cases be up to 10 years or more. This exceeds the life of many
formal. constituted 'permanent bodies'. In addition, the borderline between
a meeting and an organization, particularly if the meeting forms part of a
series and has an informal continuing committee, can only be arbitrarily established.
In the case of independent and dependent bodies, it was again decided that,
whatever the degree of autonomy, the file structure should permit, if necessary,
treatment of the entity in question as a node in the network. This avoids
the unsatisfactory procedure of preestablishing the sub-system boundaries
and thus predetermining what is system-external and what is system-internal.
The location of sub-system boundaries may itself be an important research
objective. In addition, this draws attention to the fact that although communication
and coordination between an outside organization and some subsidiary body
may be eminently satisfactory, there is no guarantee that the relationship
between the central body and the subsidiary body is satisfactory. A sub-sub-system
of sub-system A may be affected by a sub-system Bwithout sub-system A as a
whole being significantly affected. This has many important consequences.
7. A consequence of the decision not to restrict attention to particular
types of organization is that arbitrary definitions of 'international', 'national',
'regional', 'local' or 'governmental', 'non-governmental',
'commercial', etc. are avoided. This permits a researcher to establish his
own definitions of such sub-systems with a maximum amount of flexibility.
This is in line with the conclusions of Andrew M.Scott (The Functioning
of the International Political System) that the nation-stages are no longer
the only significant actors on he international political scene. The file
design should facilitate the systems approach suggested by him which would
'help overcome the sharp separation between domestic affairs and international
politics, because it operates equally well at either level and can move between
8. Most information systems are designed as means of speeding up the processing,
storage and retrieval of documents. Because of the high volumes involved,
such systems are very costly and where they are less costly, this is only
achieved by a considerable degree of specialization in order to reduce the
volume. To avoid this dilemma and yet optimize information on the world system
as a whole, it was decided to concentrate on the producers of information
rather than the, information produced in document form.
The information producing and processing points in the world system are organiz
ations of one kind or another. These represent the points at which decisions
and control activity regarding the production of information occurs. A focus
on suchpoints therefore maximizes the possibility of obtaining a clear, overall
picture of the world system. Such a picture is an essential basis for management
type decisions concerning the allocation of resources.
A management information system requires information on bodies controlling,
evaluating, formulating, and implementing programmes, and coordinating memberships
(in thebroadest sense), relationships and information networks linking them
to problem areas. It is therefore focussed on the coordination achieved and
necessary for current and planned or proposed activities. A documentation
information system concentrates on on the information produced when it eventually
appears in published form,
The first is focuesed on the initiating points for present and future activity
whilst the second is focussed on the published record, if any, of past
activity. The fact that one organisation can coordinate the production of
many documents in the context of one programme, isan indication of the volume
of information in each case, the scale of the problem in each case, and the
cost of each type of system. Most important though, is that it illustrates
the relatively much higher value of information on the current programmes
Intermediate between these extremes, is Information on sources of information
produced in document form (e.g. bibliographies of bibliographies, directories
ofperiodicals, etc.) which can be incorporated in a management information
system, since it reprerents the key to information collecting points and systems
in a particiular problem area. Such ch information is of relatively much
higher value if it is produced regularly within a series rather than as a
The file structure is therefore deliberately not orientated toward the solution
of the documentation problem and the associated 'information explosion'. Such
solutions imply the retrievability within a 'reasonable' period of time of
an optimum number ofpast relevant documents on a subject. A
management information system implies - he immediate availability of information
on all currently active bodies, programmes and information networks with in
the world system. It can, to some extent, predict future document production.
The emphasis on the management approach is based on the view that even if
document information system can provide an optimum selection of relevant material
on a problem, this does not facilitate the solution to many important subsequent
- decision-makers are increasingly in a position in which they can no longer
afford the time to wait for libraries and information centres to complete
the documentation retrieval cycle. Having received a pile of documents, they
are no longer in a position to read and assimilate all the information supplied.
Not only does the time factor come into play, but also the problem for the
decision-maker of determining the relevance of analytical results based on
the techniques and assumptions of disciplines with which he is not familiar.
If the are 'foreign' to him, his inclination to use them, will be low, even
if he studies the results in detail. This is a major problem in the utilization
of research implications for policy formulation.
a request for documents is specific. The documents received are the
answer to the request, They do not automatically supply an operational
context for the problem area in question, particularly where it may cross
specialist or jurisdictional boundaries. The documentation information
system is 'blind' to this approach, particularly when set up within a specialist
organization with an accession profile designed to minimize acquisition
of material from other fields. The more general the request, the more material
supplied which must be interpreted, restructured and
the response of a documentation information system is a response from
the past and cannot take into account current developments (even the lag
between production and publication of a journal article may be several years).
- a documentation system is not dynamic. It cannot permit analyses which
could signal probable problem areas. The decision-maker is therefore dependent
on historical reports to detect a problem, unless it hasreached crisis level
and been reported through not documcntary channels across the accepted jurisdictional
A major requirement for a management information is that it be highly structured,
eliminate non-significant data in order to highlight problem areas and areas
requiring decisions. It should also relate a problem area to associated problem
areas across discipline and jurisdictional boundaries. It should indicate
the location of resources and the channels through which they could advantageously
be moved. An attempt should therefore be made in designing the file structure
to facilitate the development of techniques of this kind.
9. Another approach to the analysis of the world system is through the use
of political and social indicators based on statistical analysis of the relationship
between key variables in a manner analogous to that used for economic indicators.
Major difficulties associated wit) this approach are cost, comparability of
data collected in different countries and ensuring regular updating.
This approach provides indications of conditions of clearly defined classes
either by national, regional or local averages. It does not tie these conditions
directly to the organizational structures within society by which they can
be modified and tends to gloss over the structure of sub-systems and
communication within and between them. Thus although primary problems can
be detected, the detection of secondary problems is not facilitated e.g. the
structural weaknesses which obstruct the effective recognition of, or implementation
of solutions to primary problems (nor does it facilitate the detection of
structural strengths by which solutions can be speeded up).
The greater the emphasis placed on structural elements within the world system
and dynamic relationships between them, the greater should be the practical
value of the file when set up. The incorporation of general political and
social indicators was therefore envisaged but only as a part of the node or
link description coding.
10. The file design should not be an attempt at model building but should
rather provide the elements from which a wide variety of partial or general
models could be built. It should, be left to the researcher to define the
classes into which he wishes to group entities for model building purposes.
The advantage of this approach is that an attempt is made to include as many
different types of entity as can be detected. The researcher is therefore
forced to explicitly exclude certain types of entity when building partial
models, rather than merely neglect certain types of entity because their significance
has not been brought to his attention
11. Additional factors governing the design arise because of the Tactical
problems of implementing and maintaining the system. These are:
flexibility of development. It would be impractical to introduce
a large amount of data before making use of the system. The file should
therefore make provision for build-up
(a) in number of entities included over time
(b) in detail included about entities
(c) of new types of detail not envisaged at the time when the file
structure was designed (This permits the file to be extended in response
to demand and as funds become available without any need to follow a
predetermined order of development. Stored information should be of
optimum utility of each stage in order that it should immediately justify
funds allocated to the project)
initial focus on the international system. Since the network
of international organizations and related entities supplies a basic structure
for the world system, the file should be developed down from international
organizations, through their national members and then includeother national
entities and local bodies of great significance. In this way the file would
be focussed on the most 'coordinative' entities of the world system,
at each stage.
low priority for commercial bodies. Since commercial organizations
are very well documented and have already been incorporated into many sophisticated
information systems, it should not be necessary to include them initially.
Exceptions to this would be multinational enterprises and their national
subsidiaries, togethter with research institutes set up for commercial purposes.
The file organization should not however preclude incorporation of profit-making
bodies as such, in t!.ose cases where they are considered to be of interest.
mailing list preparation. To provide a source of funds, as well
as to facilitate file maintenance, it was considered necessary to design
the file in such a way that names and addresses of organizations could be
conveniently listed in a flexible manner for mailing, survey questionnaires
and directory preparation purposes. Unless the system is used a great deal
in this way, insufficient mail returns are received to feed back corrections
and keep e system up to date, and therefore of continuing value. It is only
by being in a position to supply mailing list information that he system
can make practical use of research techniques developed to detect unnecessary
communication and coordination gaps and their effects on programme implementation.
Following on from this, the greater the extent to which the mailing list
use of the system can be facilitated, the greater should be the value of
it to those organizations included which are faced with communication and
receptiveness to data in a wide variety of formats. In order
to maximize the value of the system to different research groups and to
increase the detail included on entities, the file should be able to incorporate
survey data on entities and links from many sources without any need to
completely restructure and recode the data.
new computer input/output techniques. Since the system would
be developed over a period during which remote and/or visual display terminals
will become increasingly accessible and low in cost, it is necessary to
minimize the difficulties in making use of these devices for retrieval and
display of information. Use of visual display devices in particular, should
considerably facilitate attempts to represent the operation of the world
system, both in general and at a detailed level, from the static (structural)
point of view and from the dynamic aspect (inter-entity flows, proposed
12. Finally, the file organization had to be kept reasonably simple to facilitate
input, and updating.
The most important factor implicit in many of the points above is the generality
of the required file design, because of its generality, the system should
be of value to a wide variety of users, but it is only the generality which
facilitates response to a wide variety of cross-category queries and permits
the construction of models of the world system as a whole.The difficulty inherent
in optimizing a general design (aside from that of locating financial support)
is illustrated by a quote from Bertram M. Gross (The State of the Nation,
p. 138) on the preparation of general social indicators:
'Most proponents of new indicators, however, are mainly interested
in some special category of data - say, educators in educational indicators,
psychiatrists in mental health data, sociologists in information on strat-
ification and mobility, political scientists in voting behavior and political
attitudes. Activists in all fields are interested in new information that
will help to vindicate their position or indict the opposition... Only a small
minority of proponenets -- whether on the producing or the using side -- are
interested in enough new indicators to provide comprehensive social systems
The file will permit the inclusion of the following types of organizational
entity. It is however highly probable that the different groups will
be given different levels of prioity, approximately that of the order here.
Individual entities from low priority groups could of course be included at
any time if necessary. The groups are based on conventional categories, but
the file organization will of course permit much more flexibility in selecting
international organizations: international governmental organizations;
organizations of international non-governmental non-profit organizations;
international non-governmental non-profit organizations; regional international
organizations; international meeting series; multinational business enterprises
commissions and sub-commissions of international organizations
(particularly where they may have independent fields of activity, names
which may create the impression that they are unconnected with the parent
body; also cases where the links between the secondary body and its parent
may be of significance to an understanding of the operation of the parent
body or the mechanism by which a particular problem is dealt with)
organizations of national non-governmental, non-profit organizations
as the major coordinative bodies for non-profit activity
libraries and information centres
national organizations (governmental and non-governmental) with
international programmes or interests (significant state or local organizations
with international programmes or interests particularly where such organizations
are important to the implementation of international programmes and where
they are the only ones of their type in the country (or he world) and may
therefore be considered of international significance. Such organizations
may also represent the major source of potential membership of international
non-governmental organizations, or in the case of governmental bodies,
for the implement- ation of international recommendations)
bilateral international organizations
international programmes, projects, 'days', etc. (particularly
where these are independent of any individual organization or have names
which create the impression that they are organizations or independent;
also cases where collaboration of organizations through the programme is
of importance to an understanding of the mechanism by which a particular
problem is dealt with)
international treaties and agreements (particularly where these
take over the normative function s of organisations or are the principal
reason for the existence of an organization)
international journals, directories, abstracting or bibliographical
services particularly where these in effect take over the information
processing and disseminating function of international organizations or
are the principal reason for the existence of a particular organization
or are in effect the most important 'coordinative structure in that
individuals: holding positions international organizations; international
roles or position (particularly where the positions held by one individual
are such that he himself performs an important integrating function in linking
organizations (e.g. cross-linking directorships in business enterprises,
or individuals holding positions in government and in non-governnental organisations)
Clearly there are many similar types of entity at the national level which
could be included if this was considered justified. The emphasis above has
been placed on the geographical coordinating function of entities. Equal emphasis
could be placed on cross-disciplinary or cross-jurisdictional coordinating
functions, and priorities could be allocated accordingly.
The concept of entity is sufficiently general to permit inclusion of other
types of entity if necessary. Possibilities are considered in a later section.
Comments on other possible entities
The purpose of considering other possible entities is to arrive at greater
facility in identifying and describing parts of the world system.
Sub-Systems and Classes of Entities: Sub-systems may conventionally
identified by name (e.g. international NGOs, the American banking system,
etc.). Descriptive coding can be supplied, as can keyword coding. The actual
entities which make up (i.e. are 'members') of the sub-system can be clearly
defined, individually or as classes and cuttin down access time. Such cards
would be a useful means of avoiding analysis. A library of sub-system
cards could be built up as a result of each analysis of the file as a whole.
Each sub-system would be defined according to the special definitions used
by the invesigator. The result might be that of a series of overlapping
classes which had together employed definitions which effectively excluded
some specific entities registered within the file. This in itself would be
In some cases the sub-systems would in fact represent a non-existant umbrella
Depending upon how the systems were defined, it could be useful to include
'black box' system cards known to be important parts of the system
with known inputs and outputs, but about which it was impossible to provide
any description with certain ty.
Religions, Armies, Tribes and Clans: The manner in which the system
is conceived does not preclude treatment of these as entities. Their heirarchical
structure and cross-links to toher entities could easily be indicated.
Movements of Opinion and Informal Organizations: Since a structure
can be identified for informal organizations and, using classes of entities,
movements of opinion, there is no reason why these important features of the
world system should not be included, if this was considered necessary.
Information and Communication Systems or Networks: Information networks
may be independent of any particular organization and may therefore be considered
to be important integrating factors in their own right. They possess a well-defined
structure and may therefore be included if necessary.
Decisions: Where a decision is taken as the result of the deliberations
and activities of a wide range of organizations not necessarily formally linked,
it would be an advan- tage to treat the decision as a type of entity in its
own right. The organizations which participate in the decision-making process
may then be treated as 'members' of this entity.
As a detail of an organizational structure, cards of this type could be used
to indicate the inputs and outputs to decision centres.
Financial Equilibrium: As one possible means of evaluating an organization
and detecting classes of orga- nizations, elements of its financial statements
could be expressed in ratio form. This could perhaps be considered as a supplementary
There is a case for coding absolute amounts only and choosing the ratios
to be calculated according to the research goal. This avoids the initial manual
calcula- tions prior to input.
Propositions: At some stage, it would be an advantage to store propositions
concerning the functioning of the world system and its sub-systems. They could
be filed at any stage of verification, so that apparently contradictory propositions
could exist together. Each would have its status changed as it moved towards
acceptance or rejection.
The value of including propositions once the file is used for simulation
and deci- sion-making is to offer the user a choice of relationships governing
a field in which he is interested, plus all the necessary qualifications.
A proposition veri- fied for a limited set of cases could be drawn to the
users attention as a possible guide for a decision in his unexplored area.
It would be useful to express propositions concerning flows or restriction
on flows between entities or classes of entities as simple mathematical functions.
In fact it is probably only propositions which can be so expressed which could
be usefully included.
Criticisms: Inclusion of data from a variety of sources will clearly
lead to a situation where two or more sources of different standpoint
will disagree. This disagreement is itself 3 feature of the system
and important to an understanding of its Operation.
Provided a critic card follows the same format as the card of data criticized,
either may be chosen, or the two compared to establish the degree of dissonance.
An example would be a comparison between stated objectives and some evaluation
of the 'real' objectives, or of what is really being achieved.
Problem Areas: Consideration has been given to means of coding problem
areas, as distinct from subject or field of interest areas. An organization
can be concerned with a field of interest selected from some sort of representation
of the totality of possible fields of interest and ordered into classes and
sub-classes. It would be useful to develop a structure of problems with which
entities can be concerned. In effect this is an ordered collection of ways
in which any entity and in particular (by extension) the world system, can
This problem thesaurus could be used as a qualifier on field of interest
coding to indicate in what way the field is of interest or is a matter of
concern, thus clarifying the objectives and activities of the organization.
Alternatively, problem areas could be treated as entities with a 'membership'
corresponding to those bodies concerned with them.
In the first case a valuable predictive tool would be created. For if analysis
shows that a number of organizations are concerned with a limited number of
problems within a particular problem area, it will bring out those aspects
with which no organization is concerned and concerning which data should be
obtained, even if only as a check. In this way a systematic picture could
be built up of what might go wrong in the future, or might be wrong, but be
undetectable because no body employs the conceptual categories necessary to
detect the problem, possibly because it is interdisciplanry.
Presumably such problem hierarchy would at its more abstract end include
the vague concepts included in organization objectives, about which it is
possible to enthuse e.g. cooperation, well-being, etc. At its more detailed
level, it would include statistics of the problem as measured. It is the intermediate
levels which would prove of value as a guide to decision-making.
The disadvantage of this approach is that no generally accepted and highly
develo- ped problem thesaurus exists. Insuffiecient is known about system
malfunction in the most general sense. Even 'problem'does not seem to
be very well defined in the system sense.
The second approach is simpler but more closely related to the field of interest
coding. The problem area could be treated as an entity with a membership.
Related problem areas could be linked using the inte-entity link cards. Because
this is an associative type of coding, no predictive feature is available,
but it does increase the ability to evaluate the degree of coordinated response
to a problem area.
It fields of interest were coded as entities, then problem area coding would
blend into field of interest coding. A field of interest could then be considered
as a problem area in a broader sense.
The link between an organization (say) and a problem area is then that the
organi- zation is set up because the problem there is considered critical.
Organizations could then be considered as society's response to a problem
area. An organization may express concern (general interest) about certain
symptoms, but consider that an indirect approach was necessary. The problem
area attached may therefore not be identical with the symptoms of concern.
An advantage is that an attempt is made to distinguish between ways in which
an organization is concerned about a subject area and how that subject area
is defined as a problem and how it is proposed to attack that problem. This
sort of qualifica- tion on field of interest coding would avoid superficial
analysis identifying dupli- cation when the two bodies were concerned about
the same area in different ways. It would also highlight those cases where
an organization is apparently the autho- rity in a certain field of interest
but in fact is only responsible for certain aspects of that field of interest.
This sort of problem area approach would help to take the emphasis off documentation
about a field of interest and place it on the way in which that field of interest
constitutes a problem and what needs to be done about it.
Entity description and card types
An important design criterion is flexibility in the amount of information
associated with each entity at a particular time, in the way in which the
information is built up over time, and in the addition of new types of information
after the program is operational.
This is achieved by having a number of different input card groups for each
entity by which a number of types of description of the entity can be stored.
Each group contains cards or series of cards having the same format for similar
types of information. In the initial design several options thus created have
been taken up, but many remain for new types of data on the entity or on its
links with other entities.
As the file is developed the number of card groups used to describe the entity
and its relationships with other entities may progress from three (minimum)
to the limits Imposed by the card coding system and the tape format. In addition,
within each group the number of card types used may also be built up. Needless
to say, large amounts of information would usually only be available or desirable
for enti- ties which are considered to be of great significance to an understanding
of the operation of the world system.
The range of card groups which it is possible to have associated with an
entity is as follows :
1. Name cards: one card per entity name (with one English version wherever
possible or necessary) and including the abbreviation (initials) normally
used ; pro- vision will be made for a single overflow card.
2. Address cards: one set of two cards per address. In general each address
will be consi- dered as indicating a different entity (even where the address
is not the main address of the parent entity), but in some cases an entity
may have two principal and equal addresses.
3. Description cards: single cards containing descriptive coding. The first
card in this group will contain the minimum information necessary to distinguish
between different type of entity, plus a field in which more detailed summary
coding can be entered.
4. Class link cards: one card per type of link. Used where the entity cannot
for practical purposes be shown as specifically linked to many single entities
(e.g. information or recommendations sent to '10,000 agriculturalists').
The main use envisaged for this initially is as a field of interest key- word/keycode
5. Geographical link cards: one 1 to 4 card series per type of link. This
permits coding of types of link with up to 220 individual countries (or a
similar number of geographical areas within a country, etc.). Initially the
main series envisaged are
countries in which a given entity has 'members' (in any sense
- countries in which a given entity has activities
This series will be the principal means by which information on 'flows'
of any type and frequency between entities and geographical areas will be
6. Inter-entity link card: one n-card series per type of link. This permits
coding of the frequency and importance of the link between the entity and
each of those with which it is linked (as indicated by the identification
number of each). Initially the main series envisaged are :
'members' of the entity (in any sense specified)
- entities of which the entity is a 'member' (in any sense specified)
This series will be the principal means by which information on 'flows'
of any type and frequency between entities will be stored.
7. Link detail cards: one card per link. This permits detailed descriptive
coding of a particular link between two entities.
No coding is planned and clearly this type of card would only be used for
links of considerable significance (an important example being the Washington-Moscow
8. Sub-entity cards: one card per sub-entity. These cards are coded in a
similar way to the Name cards. They are used to identify either dependent
or internal bodies for which it is not considered necessary to prepare complete
coding as separate entities, or temporarily applicable details concerning
the entity (e.g. where the continuing entity is a meeting series, each new
meeting may have a special title in addition to the series title. This information
is stored here).
9. Other card groups: A number of other card groups are under consideration.
Relationship between dependent, independent, continuing
and temporary entities
The file structure has been designed on the assumption that it isvery difficult
to distinguish in a generally acceptable manner between continuing and temporary
entities, and between independent and dependent (possibly internal) entities.
Provision is however made for conventional distinctions of this type to facilitate
some mailing list uses of the file.
To enable the entities to be grouped in as many ways as possible, temporary
entities are coded in the same way as continuing entities, and dependent
(or internal) entities in the same way as independent.
A complication arises because:
a) a dependent entity may use the same address as the main body
b) a temporary body may use the same address as the main body(e.g. one
meeting in a meeting series)
c) an organization may be responsible for a meeting series for which information
on one meeting (temporary) must be stored
d) it may not be considered necessary to store more than the title of the
dependent or temporary body (where the latter is also dependent).
These difficulties are resolved as follows:
a description card carries coding to distinguish between dependent and
independent (The user does not have to rely on this somewhat arbitrary coding),
and possibly, uncertain
a description card also carries coding to distinguish, between continuing
where the entity is
temporary but not dependent: it is treated as an independent entity
and no problem arises
temporary,dependent, significant, dependent address: it is coded
separately, the address being replaced by a cross- link to the main
temporary, dependent, significant, independent address: it is coded
separately with its own address
dependent, insignificant: it is coded by name only as a sub-entity
card of the main entity
This solution does imply that not all dependent entities are tacked onto
the main entity in a manner convenient for listing without a preliminary sort.
This feature world be required for periodical checks on the file.
Entity identification numbers
Each entity coded separately, whether independent, dependent, permanent or
temporary, provided it is considered significant, will be allocated a unique
6 digit identification number. The numbers will be allocated sequentially
and will have no significance in themselves, in order to avoid the many difficulties
when entities change over time. When entities cease to function, the identification
number will become free for allocation to a new entity.
This numbering system gives a maximum of under one million addresses which
is certainly sufficient for medium-term goals. It is possible
to consider using alphabetic characters in the code. If this was done, six
positions might not be necessary. Alphabetic coding might however prove unsatisfactory
if much sorting is expected on the identification number, as is planned. In
addition, since it would be an advantage to facilitate use of the file on
direct access devices, numerical coding might be more efficient.
Card coding system
Depending on whether alphanumeric coding is permissable one or two columns
of code will be required to distinguish between data cards, movement cards,
processing request cards, etc. for system purposes. The first two columns
have been reserved for this purpose.
Within each card group, two further columns may be required to permit a sufficiently
wide variety of additional cards. Needless to say, some of these codes will
only be allocated to certain entity classes, so that the number of cards,
in a particular group of a particular entity will generally be small, unless
many surveys have been conducted on that type of entity. In general, each
survey of entities will be allocated a code in these two columns, except in
those cases where the number of columns of data is small. In such cases,
the data would be allocated to spare columns on other records.
A final column is required for cases where cards within groups are part of
a series. This mainly applies to long names. Where one survey generates more
than 60 columns of data within one card group, this can be split as though
coming from separate surveys. It may therefore be possible to avoid the use
of the extra column. In which case, the sort prior to input of the cards
need only be made on the first two columns, since it will be necessary to
scan the remaining records by program anyway to detect whether a particular
one is present.
Date of information-received coding
The address and description cards, as well as the link cards, will each need
one or two columns to indicate the date at which the last information was
received. This cannot be restricted to one card, since whilst general inform-
ation about an organization may be up to date, an address may have lapsed
or membership etc. changed slightly
Source of information-received coding
Survey coding will be identified by the card code. It may however be necessary
to consider an identification of soiree code for address and basic description
The system is designed to permit entities to be sorted on the basis of country
or city geographical coding, whether this refers to the headquarters of an
organiza- tion, the location of its members, or the location of a meeting.
The country codes used are based on a List of Nations and Territories prepared
by the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo on the basis of UN Statistical
Office information. The list was intended as a 'description of the universe
of nations, not as any kind of sample. In addition to all independent nations,
non- independent territories are included if they fulfil all the following
1. separate administration, 2. indigenous and resident population, 3. geographical
non-contiguity to a dominant nation.
The following are not necessary conditions for inclusion :
1. national independence,
2. the existence of an independence movement if the territory is a dependency,
3. a minimum size, 4. availability of data ..... Although certain small
territories may have been left out due to incomplete information, we believe
that this list comes close to the best definition that can be made of the
universe of nations and territories at the present time'. ('The
PRIO List of Nations and Territories',Oslo).
Three digit codes are used. The first digit representing a regional classification.
'Regions are purely geographical, and some that are habitually kept apart
have been collapsed in order to get regions of roughly comparable size'.
100 Africa: 101-157 countries
200 America: 201-252 countries
300 Asia: 301-349 countries
400 Europe: 401-436 countries
500 Oceania and Australia: 501-528 countries.
This system does not provide for sub-regions which may be considered of importance,
e.g. Caribbean, Latin America, South-East Asia, some of which are difficult
to define. There are sufficient free codes within any region however to be
able to identify such regions if necessary at a later date. In addition the
standard search program should permit the user to define and select his own
Similarly, since the codes 600-900 are free there should be no difficulty
in defining bi-regional, or political regions if this is considered necessary.
This system does not permit areas such as 'Scotland' to be treated
as countries or territories. Since some international bodies indicate members
in Scotland as dis- tinct from those in England, this could create a problem.
City and within-country coding
In order to be able to extend the application of the system to national and
local bodies and their activities, within-country regional coding and city
codes are re- quired. Ideally this could be based on the telephone, telex
or postal codes. Since these have not been developed in a consistent manner
(Sterky, H. 'Is a common, world-wide numerical code for all countries
Utopian or feasible' Union Postale, UPU, 1968, 5) and are not readily
available for major cities and towns of the world, another system must be
sought. Convenient system could have been usefully based on the latitude and
longitude of the city in question, but this would involve 8 digits for
reasonable accuracy, and does not take advantage of the grouping already
achie- ved by the country coding. It would have been very useful for specifying
regions within countries.
1st card cols:
1/2 name card code
3/8 identification number
9/10 language of name
11 name translated, if necessary
12/79 name split into address line zones
80 second card exists; abbreviation in first end of name
If the name ends by col. 69, cols. 70/79 may be used for the name abbreviation,
provided the appropriate code is given in col. 80, and provided the name abbreviation
does not exceed 10 letters. 10 letters covers most abbreviations (international
Initialese, UAl, 1963) but does not cover shortened names and alternative
names cum abbreviations, which exist for some bodies. It may be necessary
to provide for an alternative name option to pover this possibility. It is
useful to include such names in order to complete indexes and as a short alternative
for addressing purposes.
2nd card col.
1/79 as above
80 abbreviation in second card end of name
In some cases a third card may be necessary. Since this is not frequent,
it may be possible to omit the need for a third card
how to identify which of several 'other' languages have been identified
by which codes
is there any advantage in attempting to include common parts of entity
names as single letter standard abbreviations and regenerating the full
word on print. Examples are: International (l), Commission (c), etc. What
about other languages with common root: Internationale (l/e), etc. 10 such
abbreviations would save much space
would title abbreviations affect the KWIC index program
list after sort on any combination of name, abbreviation, identification
number, possibly grouped and/or selected according to codes on other cards
KWIC index on names and/or abbreviations in selected language(s), possibly
grouped and/or selected according to codes on other cards
regeneration of full name if within-name abbreviations are used
format options for printout
1st card col.
1/2 address card code
3/8 identification number
9/10 address type code
11 1st language preference
12 2nd language preference
13/15 country code
16/18 city/town code
19/79 address line zones
80 second card code
end of address code
2nd card col.
1/10 as in 1st card
11/79 address line zones
80 end of address code
a third card may have to be envisaged
to retain mailing list flexibility and permit addresses to be used in
many countries, the appropriate language must be used for the country name
e.g. can Deutschland be used from the U.K. or France, and is an English
sorted list of towns acceptable with Wien instead of Vienna
should telephone and telex numbers be included in zones in the sane way
as abbreviations as an aid in preparation of directories
The first of the description cards carries the minimum coding necessary to
distinguish between the various types of entity. The card will therefore probably
be allocated the lowest card code. The minimum coding in fact only occupies
the first part of the card. The remaining columns arc available for ore detailed
1/2 description card code 3/8 identification number 9/10 description
card type 11/15 Yearbook of Int. Organizations number (for international)
19 type of entity
20 governmental/non-governmental governmental
non-governmental, non-profit profit
government/NGO government/profit NGO/profit
21 qualifiers on each type within col. 20
A second description card planned will cover the serial number, year,
city, and country (and possibly the number and origin of participants) of
past meetings in a series.
e.g. for non-governmental, non-profit: learned society trade
association mass membership etc. membership
finance board members activities objectives
To facilitate file maintenance, the first description card will carry a series
of codes indicating action that needs to be taken to acquire further information,
whenlast tried, etc.
Extracts from PRIO coding
How long has Secretary-Gneral been Secretary-General 8
For how long is Secretary-General aprointed/elected 10
Onwhat initiative does Secretary-Gneral act 42
Description of organization - activity initiated 57
branch communication 58
branch contact frequency 60
membership basis 61
source of membership 63 1st,2nd,3rd
- source of Sec-Gens 6 1st,2nd,3rd
- location of HQ 16 1st,2nd,3rd
- source of board members 26 1st,2nd,3rd
- source of staff 36 1st,2nd,3rd
- source of revenue 46 1st,2nd,3rd
- size of staff - paid 56
- vol 57
- size of budget 58-60
- source of non-member country finance 61 1st,2nd,3rd
- ranked sources of income 6-
- ranked sources of expend 14-21
- change of structure,
- future plans 22-25
- Contactswith other int. organizations
- shared secretariat facilit 321st,2nd,3rd
- exchange of board members 481st,2nd,3rd
- exchange of observers 6 lst,2nd,3rc
- joint meetings 22 1st,2nd,3rd
- Sec-Gen friendship 38 1st,2nd,3rd
- other 54 1st, 2nd, 3rd
- national governments 70
Description of organization (contd}
basis of membership 71-72
membership as % of 73
potential basic of activity 74
ranked goals 6-17
frequency of board mtg 63
frequency of open cnf 64
membership of inclusive int. orgs 6 1st, 2nd
status with UN Agencies 17
activity importance 18
Telephone, cable 6
UN Representative 7
Foundation date 8-9
Foundation place 10-12
No. of nations represented 13-15
No. of individual members 16-18
No. of group members 19-21
General Ass. frequency 22
Structural bodies 23
Staff paid 24-26
Languages used 31-37
IGO Relations 43
NGO Relations 44
Number of activities 45-46
No. of conferences 47-48 No. of historical publications 49
No. of periodicals '50
No. of non-period. '51 No. of publication languages
Date of information 55
II: Nations represented (each) 1-50
III ' ' 1-50
IV ' ' 1-65
UN Agency membership 69
Special coding for entity types
meeting series field of interest coding as organization
meeting theme ' ' '
open or closed '
average meeting budget ' ?
average meeting attendance (participants/countries) ' ?
report publication policy
past meetings (place, year, country, number)
number of teachers
number of students
type breakdown (reference, public, specialized, etc.)
number of volumes
number of accessions per year
number of periodicals received
number of bibliographicals received
publication of accessions list/bibliographies
subject range (books and periodicals separately); general and special
receptive to publishers catalogues
type breakdown (newsletter, journal, yearbook)
some measure of size
Subscription price or cost
acceptance of advertising
circulation breakdown by class
number of entries
subscription price or cost
circulation breakdown by class
subject coverage geographical coverage
number of addresses
proposed subject coverage
drafted UN Treaty Series no.
in process of ratification
date for renewal or termination
minimum number of signatories for effect
period of activity
code number for project (cf. Unesco)
body reported to
Multinational business enterprises
assets (with % in non-HQ country)
capital (with % in non-HQ country)
turnover (with % in non-HQ country)
profit (with % in non-HQ country)
subsidiaries (with % in non-HQ country)
associated (with % in non-HQ country)
branches (with % in non-HQ country)
manufacturing countries(with % in non-HQ country)
nationalities on board
allocations per year
period of tenure
voting power/policy formulation
Class link cards
These are required where information on an entity's links can only be given
in general terms. This may be either because the detailed information is confidential
or that it would be impracticable to list a large number of entity links,
e.g. mai- ling lists, individual members, etc.
1/2 class link card code
3/8 identification number
9/11 link type coding
12/80 Class coding.
In the case of field of interest/subject keywords the 12/80 field could be
subdi- vided as follows :
12/36 five 5 digit zones : digit
1 range value of importance of field
2/4 3 digit general code (corres- ponding approximately to the first
three digits of the Uni- versal Decimal Classification)
5 detail on 2/4 if necessary.
37/78 three 14 digit zones to be used for detailed keywords not covered
by the hierarchy coding in 12/36.
In the case of classes such as
1000 major libraries
- 50% of dental association in Europe
- 250 medical journals.
or of distribution lists such as mailing list of 1000 split
50% chemists in Asia
- 20 % hospitals in Asia
- 10 % government departments
- 10 % international bodies
- 10 % miscellaneous.
a satisfactory met hod of coding must be arrived at. It would be useful to
make use of the coding conventions used in the description card when defining
types of orga nization.
Aside from its use for subject or field of interest indexing, these links
can be used :
to describe mass membership or mass circulation of information
- the hierarchical structure of the UDC coding permits greater flexibility
- is the attempt to indicate relative strength of interest in a particular
subject by range values satisfactory.
it would be possible to have a historical record of past fields of interest
by keeping this type of card in the system. Is this too close to documentation
of the past.
- is the treatment of field of interest as a class forced and should it be
- is the development of a class coding practicable. It must include subject
field, type of entity, geographical location and the link must be described
in terms of type (information, membership, policy, etc.), qualification ontype
(e.g. for information :official report, journal, bibliography etc.), frequency
of contact, a measure of the importance (e.g. number of items distributed,
if certain classes of entity are themselves treated as entities, this
may simplify the situation by permitting the use of the entity identification
Comment on keyword system
In choosing a simple numerical code, it was hoped to avoid the complications
of comprehensive indexing met with in the U.D.C. Each general subject or aspect
of a subject would receive its own code. No relationship between two or three
such key- codes would be attempted at the time of indexing. Any indexing difficulties
at the detail end would be dealt with by using keywords.
The 3 digits reserved for the main coding should give sufficient logical
structure. The thesaurus required could advantageously be a modified form
of the U.D.C. coding to avoid the problems of distortion to due to rapid development
of particular fields of knowledge.
An alternative as considered, which is more consistent with the treatment
of a field of interest as a 'class' with which the entity has some form of
relationship. This has the advantage of avoiding the necessity of building
up a rigid logical struc- ture.
Each keyword would be given an identification number which would be selected
on a sequential basis, identical to that of entities, but would avoid duplicates.
In this way each field of interest is defined as an entity. The field
of interest coding required would then amount to a description of the membership
relationship of the entity coded to this new type of entity.
These new entities could then have their own descriptive coding by which
they could be cross-linked into a complex hierarchy in a number of different
This option is theoretically attractive but raises problems of space, (because
each keyword is treated as an entity) and processing time for a selection
of entities in any field of interest.
- sort on keycodes or keywords with printout of name of entity
- sort into hierarchy order
- merge with KWIC indexing of names, particularly with data card input giving
key- code/keyword conversion in selected language.
Geographic link cards
Each card of the five card set refers to one geographical region (either
within the world, or at some later stage within a country). Only one card
need however be used if the countries are all concentrated within one area.
1/2 geographical link card code
3/8 identification number
9/10 link type code (e.g. membership, finance, policy, information,
etc. and the direction of flow, from or to the geographical area in question).
11/12 link frequency and strength codes
13/15 geographical region code (e.g. for countries : 100 Africa 200
America 300 Asia 400 Europe 500 Oceania)
16/79 area coding. A single column is available per area. In this a qualitiative
code or range value for the strength or frequency of the link may be punched.
An option is being considered for those cases where the links are limited
to a num- ber of widely dispersed areas. Using the above system, much space
would be wasted. The option consists of giving the full 3 digit code of the
countries (instead of a range value in a single fixed position column)
in cols. 16/79. This could be accom- panied by a single digit field for each
country, to give range values making a 4 digit code per country.
An option is being considered to permit more detail on a single country.
In this case cols. 13/15 would contain the code of the country. This could
permit mixed national/international coding.
Could be used for :
spread of membership by country, with some range value of numbers per
- funds received from each country (possibly of a particular type) with some
amount range value
- funds expended in each country with an amount range value
- type of program activity in each country
- amount of information distributed to each country
- nationality of board members
the single column of coding per country does not permit much detail.
Budgets can only be indicated as ranges, not more accurately using the first
two budget digits and a power of ten code in three columns.
- there are 36 European and 28 Oceanian countries. It would be an advantage
to combine these onto one card to save space. This would however destroy the
meaning of the country numbering.
should the from or to sense of the flows be indicated in a separate
column to facilitate flow-chart processing.
- update processing in the case of the 4 digits per country option. The field
must be scanned.
Inter-entity link cards
1/2 inter-entity link card
3/8 identification number
9/10 link type card
11/75 eight 8 digit zones:
1 link frequency code
2 volume/amount code
3/8 linked entity identification number
Could be used for specifying any type of link or flow between entities
'members' of the entity in question
- entities of which the entity is a 'member' (e.g. an early use will be to
specify with which United Nations Agencies the international organization
has consultative status, which type of consultative status, and an evaluation
of the importance of the link)
- entities from (to) which policy/recommendations/information/finance/etc.
of specified types is received (sent)
- in the case of 'business enterprises, the two extra columns will be
used to indicate the allocation of stock/voting power in 2 digit percentage
As previously, a new type of link can be specified at the time the set of
data is input, provided that there is sufficient worthwhile information to
warrant allocating a code to permit this
as with the geographical link cards, it might be an advantage to reserve
a single supplementary column to col. 9/10 in order to indicate the
direction of flows to facilitate flow-chart preparation
- as before, a single column of code, or even two, does not permit adequate
coding of the flows of funds between two entities. A third column to permit
power of ten coding on the 2 digit field may not however be justifiable
- when updating a link card, the other end of the link must also be updated.
This could create processing problems unless both changes were introduced
suppression or addition of specified identification numbers
- scan to check the presence of a particular identification number
The information is coded in such a manner as to facilitate the storage, retrieval
and analysis of entities and their relation: hips in many ways. The main
program will be designed to facilitate file maintenance, mailing list preparation
and general research. This is described in the first section 'below.
Special programs may be used for more detailed research and display of information.
These poss- ibilities are described in later sections.
Due to the many types of structure which it is possible to treat as 'entities'
and incorporate into the file, it is difficult to detail all the possible
queries which may be answered. The file has however been designed to facilitate
descrip- tion of the state or characteristics of entities and of their
dynamic performance or modes of activity in order to permit flow analyses
between entities in the most general sense.
The processing requirement and capability will depend clearly upon the amount
of detail included on entities, which in turn will depend upon the priority
of that Type of entity. Initially only sequential analysis will be possible.
Once cross-reference or link cards are included more sophisticated processing
will be possible for those entities for which such information has been collected.
1. Mailing and other lists
print mailing and other lists with choice of amount of information (abbrevia-
tions, names, address, coding, etc.) and format, cased on combinations of
codes in any of the cards grouped with the entity. This will mainly be used
for selection by: country, city, language, field of interest, descriptive
coding (size, type, membership, etc.) and also to select those entities
for which more information is required
- index processing and listing based on names and fields of interest in chosen
language as well as selective coding to group by geographical location or
- consideration will be given to the need to facilitate directory production
by formatting in a manner suitable for a computer typesetting routine
2. Calendar of meetings
print calendar of future meetings in all or chosen subjects and with
the option of selecting on descriptive or past meeting codes
- mailing list to request information on new meetings based on past meeting
- mailing list to request information on vast meeting reports
- index processing and listing as above
N.B. Although the routines required for this would permit preparation
of a programme/project 'calendar', such calendars cannot be prepared until
programme information is included at a later date)
3. General research
total on any code or combination of codes
- most other general research requirements will be covered by the mailing
list routines. Users will have to provide their own programs for more sophisticate,
Medium-term Requirements - A
The following requirements should be covered by the same program used for
the Immediate Requirements. It will not be possible to perform processing
of the types mentioned below until membership and other link cards are coded,
or in other cases until the demand is sufficient.
1. Link research
Selection and list of entitiesto which any given entity or group of entities
is linked, based on the coding of the entity and on the coding of the entity
This will mainly be used for: selection of national branches of international
organizations; selection of international organizations with a given type
of national branch; selection of organizations which have or have not held
meetings in a given country or city
It could also be used for: selection of organizations with board members
of a certain nationality; selection of organizations with programmes in a
2. Modification subscribers
Selection and list of modifications, particularly change of address, based
on a selection profile and a monthly or quarterly subscription
Medium-term Requirements - B
The following requirements should be covered by separate programs developed
specifically for that purpose.
1. Non-interactive graphic display
a. In the absence of cross-linking coding: a program could be developed
to print out the identification numbers of entities within a 2-dimensional
frame. Both coordinates and scale to be specified by the user. Coordinates
could be based on field of interest keycoding, geographical location coding,
number of members, or any other descriptive coding (size of budget, foundation
Identification numbers could possibly be printed out as 2 or 3 character
codes with a conversion table or a direct list of names. Alternatively, abbreviations
could possibly be used with codes only where necessary.
In a similar way, subjects (for example) not picked out by the coordinate
framework, could be printed out as qualifiers on those subjects listed for
organizations within the framework. Alternatively, such information could
possibly be given with the conversion or look-up table.
If many organizations are represented by a particular combination of coordinates,
a single code could be used, the complete list being given in the look-up
table. This would be the only possible procedure if large scale coordinates
Main uses for this form of print-out would be: supplementary indexes to directories
(particularly the Yearbook of International Organizations); in meetings as
a quick guide to other organizations operating in the same field (as a means
of drawing attention to the need for liaison); as part of a questionnaire
to organizations (a) to inform them of the existence of bodies operating in
the same field, (b) to obtain information for inclusion in the file ('Please
draw lines to those organizations with whom youare in contact',
b. When cross-linking coding has been included: a program could be
developed as an extension of that above in order to print in the lines linking
organizations represented in the 2-dimensional coordinate framework. This
would be particularly useful after entities have been grouped into classes
and averaged values for the links between classes determined by calculation.
Instead of lines being-indicated simply by 'XX..' or '***' they
could be given some mnemonic value oy using 'FF..' for fund flows, 'MM..'
for membership link, etc., combined into 'FMFM..' for a double flow.e.g.
number of countries represented
R = recommendations
F = funds
M = membership
C = consultation
I = information
This represents one type of flow-chart analysis. Whilst preparing a print-out
of this type, the program could also produce an analysis of those entities
or classes of entity which were not in contact, according to some criteria
There are many possible extensions to a flow-chart analysis which could possibly
be incorporated into the program and printed out in such a way as to increase
the information content of the above diagram, e.g. contact frequency, flow
volumes, flow quality rankings, etc.
2. Interactive graphic display
For research purposes it would be useful to develop a program which would
permit the researcher to modify his query after each printout. In this way
if he obtains some information from the first printout which indicates that
he should explore a particular sub-system along a new dimension, he can
immediately request such a printout. This cuts down all the usual delays associated
with queuing requests for data processing and allows the researcher (or the
decision-maker) to maintain thinking momentum!
Processing of this type is carried on by having the user interact with the
computer via a typewriter keyboard. This may be in an office remote from the
computer itself. Such processing would require that the file be transferred
to a direct access device.
The user would then be in a position to 'work through' the file from
some known entity (with a known identification number) exploring different
flows between entities. He could group entities into classes to get a broad
flowchart picture displayed or work at the inter-entity level, There are
many useful possibilities to be examined.
A further development, instead of having diagrams or analyses printed out
onto the typewriter (or a printer), would be to display the results on a cathode
ray tube with which the user can interact via a light-pen, plus keyboard.
Sortie of the possibilities in this area have been discussed in a separate
note. Major advantages are the ease with which information can be added to
the display, the higher information content possible with pseudo 3-D
displays and the possibility of shading, blinking, rotating, zooming, etc.
In the long-term development of this type of system it is possible that the
interactive visual display unit may prove to be the most convenient method
of checking and updating the file (e.g. changes of address, membership, etc.)
Initially data on entities can probably best be stored on tape in identification
number sequence. All card groups relating to a particular entity would then
be together. This immediately raises, the problem of the variable length of
the data strings tacked onto each entity. A possible solution is to
use two tapes, one for the constant minimum number of records relevant to
each entity, and a second for the remaining variable numbers of records.
Whilst this solution may speed up the printout of mailing lists, it nevertheless
increases the number of tapes without resolving the problem of the inconvenience
of having variable length records on the second tape. In addition, specifying
a maximum length for the variable length portion may prove to be an inconvenient
limitation both by reducing available memory space and necessitating the maint-
enance of a count on the number of fixed length records within the variable
A more satisfactory solution would be to work in card format, making use
of any convenient blocking factor. The program could use a storage area to
take care of overflow of the fixed length records pertaining to one entity
from one block to the next. In this way no restriction is imposed on the
length of the data strings tacked onto the entity. A second tape might however
prove useful for part of the string at some stage.
File maintenance, lists and simple queries
Provided no cross-link processing is required this part of the required processing
will be standard. Changes and selection masks will be input as cards, the
tape will be updated and mailing lists printed.
A slight complication arises because each selection mask will result in a
separate list. Clearly the first list can be printed immediately, unless
it must first be sorted, whilst other lists will have to be prepared by sorting
entities selected onto a scratch tape prior to printing them.
Inter-entity link cards can be stored at any stage. Simple selection
using them poses the same problems discussed in the last section, processing
becomes more complex however when it becomes necessary to list the entity
to which the entity is linked, particularly when there are several, and their
coding a factor.
This problem could have been avoided by tacking on the full information on
linked entities after the main entity, e.g. all national branches of international
organizations. This however creates another problem because a national 'branch'
'ay not be simply a dependent branch but a fully independent organization
which is itself the member of other international organizations and may have
other national organizations as its members.
The same problem arises where an address is common to two entities, e.g.
a meeting, which may be the responsibility of a particular organization although
overall responsibility may be shared between several independent organizations.
Ifthe address is included twice (or more, where there are many such
meetings), updating problems are created when the address changes. If it
is included once, using the identification number as the cross-link from the
other, then some sorting will be required. This alternative is considered
Indexes would be prepared either directly from the tape of the updated file,
usually with some sort of selection profile in the form of card input, or else
from scratch tapes arising from a previous selection to tape.
Indexes would be based on a single language name or on the keyword coding in
the class link cards. If English, these two could be merged. Indexes could
be extended by inputing word equivalents of the numerical keycoding in the class
link cards. There is no reason why this should not be possible in languages
other than English, if necessary.
There is a possibility that it might be useful to format the indexes to facilitate
Eon-interactive displays are mainly aquestion of sorting and formating and
should pose no problems.
Interactive displays would require that the entities of interest first be selected
onto a direct access device. From this they could then be selected into
memory as required, thus avoiding a sequential pass through the whole file.
This implies that the identification numbers should be suitable, or at least
adaptable by program, for direct access purposes. The cross-linking then becomes
a means of avoiding sorts.
One unfortunate feature of depending upon the inter-entity link coding arises
because fields of interest were not treated as entities. This lack of generality
means that all linked entities can be traced without a sort and displayed, but
entities with the same field of interest but out of contact can only be detected
after a pass through the file selected to the direct access device. If the
file is small this does not pose a problem, however, (It would be interesting
to know for a time-shared interactive device whether it is possible to
undertake two-types of processing simultaneously, one requiring a longer time
than the other. In which case, a relatively lengthy sort could be requested
from the same terminal from which interactive processing was being undertaken.
The first program would then have to interrupt the second on completion of the
sort or file scan.)
Crude model: Functional Diagram of Information Flow
In Foreign Policy Decisions.
(Extract from Deutsch, K. Nerves of Government, 1963, Appendix)
MAIN INFORMATION FLOW (heavy arrows)
I. Current Information from outside the decision system
01 Current general information about foreign countries (part of external
O2 Current general information about domestic politics (part of internal
O3 Current foreign information, as selected by receptors O4 Current
domestic information, as selected by receptors O5 Current foreign
and domestic information, screened and combined
II. Past Information, recalled from storage within system
R1 Information recalled and recombined from deep memory
R2: Information recalled and recombined from recent or current memory
R3 Combined information from memory
R4 Combined information from memory, as selectively recalled
R5 Recalled information from memory, screened for acceptability in
terms of culture, values, personalities, cognitive dissonance, etc.,
and transmitted to area of preliminary decision R6 Acceptable memories,
transmitted to area of final decision
III. Combined Information, of memories and outside data
C1 Combined selected data and acceptable memories, moving toward
final de- cision (e.g., 'action papers')
C2 Combined selected data and memories, as screened further for feasibility
and acceptability as policies
C3 Abridged combined data, transmitted toward area of confrontation
and simultaneous inspection
C4 Abridged combined data, screened for acceptability to consciousness
C5 Abridged data and memories, selected and combined at the level
of con- scious confrontation, and transmitted to area of final decision
C6 Final policies selected and transmitted to effectors in foreign
C7 Final policies selected and transmitted to effectors in domestic
policy area Note: Policies need not always be consistent between
C4 and C5, nor within C4 or C5, respectively.
Thus the United States Congress mayvote a foreign policy resolution
demanding greater anti-Communist efforts in the Western Hemisphere,
and at the same time cut economic aid funds for Latin American countries;
or the West German government could call upon Britain to aid in the
defense of West Berlin while at the same time threatening British Trade
with exclusion from the European Common Market.
Such inconsistencies might show up in advance in the recombinations
and symbolic projection of information at the level of abridged simultane-
ous inspection and 'consciousness'; or else they might be
reported back only later in the feedback of information about the results
of the first in- consistent actions taken under these policies in the
outside world, but still early enough to permit correction of these
policies at later stages.
IV. Feedback Information about the consequences of the actions of the
system on its relations to the world outside it
F1 Feedback information about the results of foreign policy actions
F2 Feedback information about the results of domestic policy actions
F3 Feedback information gathered by foreign area receptors
F4 Feedback information gathered by domestic area receptors
V. The 'Will' System
S1 Screen of selective attention to current information
S2 Screen of acceptable recalls from memory
S3 Screen of acceptable summary information for confrontation and
simul- taneous inspection ('consciousness')
S4 Screen of acceptable and feasible policies
MAIN INFORMATION FLOWS, ADJUSTING SCREENS
W1 Information which sets attention focus or 'tracking'
pattern for foreign area receptors
W2 Information which sets attention focus or 'tracking'
pattern for domes- tic area receptors
W3 Outside information, changing the screen of acceptability to
W4 Recalled information, changing screen of attention
W5 Selectively recalled information, changing screen of subsequent
accepta- ble recalls
W6 Information about tentative decision, changing screen of attention
(e.g. 'self-confirming policy')
W7 Information about tentative decision, changing search pattern
for selec- tion of interesting recalls from memory (e.g., 'search
for precedents ')
W8 Information about tentative decision, changing screen of acceptability
W9 Information about tentative decision, changing screen of acceptable
re- calls .
W10 Information about tentative decision, changing screen of acceptable
and feasible policies
W11 information about results of simultaneous confrontation
and inspection ('consciousness'), changing the screen of attention
to outside informa- tion
W12 Information about results of simultaneous confrontation and inspection
('consciousness'), changing screen of acceptability to consciousness
\V13 Information about results of simultaneous confrontation and
inspection ('consciousness'), changing screen of acceptable
and feasible policies
W14 Information about results of simultaneous confrontation and inspection
('consciousness'), via screen of repression from consciousness,
to screen of acceptable and feasible policies ('unthinkable')
W15 Information about feasibility and acceptability of policies,
changing screen of acceptability to consciousness
W16 Acceptable recalled information, changing screen of acceptable
and feasible policies
w17 Information about final decision, changing screen of repression
VI. Minor or Secondary Information Flows
M1 Selected outside information, transmitted to memory for storage
and pos- sible recall. This is a minor flow only as regards the making
of immediate decisions. Its actual volume of information may be large
M2 Selected outside information, changing probabilities of recall
('that re- minds me . . .')
M3 Orders for recall, to memory
M4 Orders, or associative trails, or chain reactions, within memory
M5 Information about results of simultaneous confrontation and inspection
('consciousness'), transmitted to area of tentative decision
M6 Abridged information about final decision, which is being fed
back to the area of simultaneous confrontation and inspection
Feedback cycle C5-M6, on repeated run-throughs, would make the final
VIII. Areas of Decision
D1 The area of dissociative and combinatorial memory is an implicit
area of decision, since the forming of certain combinations, and the
omission of others, functions indirectly as a series of partial decisions.
Such combina- tions include not only data but also their patterns of
configuration; they also include images and values
D2 Area of preliminary decision, where combinations between memory
data and current intake function as explicit preliminary decisions
D3 The area of simultaneous confrontation and inspection, which functions
indirectly as a decision area, since certain combinations between the
simul- taneously presented data are formed, while other possible combinations
are not, and the successful combinations have the effect of partial
D4 The area of explicit final decision-which may, however, already
have been prejudiced in its outcomes by the events at the earlier decision