Analysis of Union of International Associations
A: External Factors
- / -
Section of Report
of a Preliminary Investigation of the Possibility of Using Computer Data
Processing Methods (1968): a summary of the various parts of
this report, and details
of its contents (with links to the various
parts), are provided separately
In this part the overall objective of the UIA is redefined to make it a
more useful aid for market analysis. The redefined elective is used to
distinguish various groups to which the UIA sells its publications and
services. In the last section of this part, an outline of the future
trends in the UIA field of activity is given.
Provisional definition of UIA objective
The UIA pursues its stated objectives by collecting, studying and publishing data on international organizations. Where possible these publications are sold at a profit. If a particular publication is judged
to be of value to the series and to contribute to internation cooperation
in general, it will be published at a loss if the funds are available.
There is therefore a basic split between activities which contribute to
objectives and make a profit, and activities which contribute to objectives
and do not make a profit. When the organization is short of funds, it is
also necessary to consider activities which do not contribute directly to
objectives and yet may also make a profit.
The overall objective is stated to be "to contribute to the development
of international life and to efforts being made for peace". This is very
broad. If it is considered to be equivalent to contributing towards
international cooperation and integration, the objective can be made more
precise. International integration has been defined as "transnational
bonds that bring individuals in one country into direct cultural and social
relations with individuals in another country" (Smoker, P.,A7,p. 62).
. increase in the number of such bonds will therefore be assumed to be the
objective of the UIA for the purpose of this analysis. On this basis,
five degrees of international cooperation promotion can be arbitrarily
These are activities which: directly result in the creation of such bonds,
facilitate the creation of planned new bonds, study the phenomenon of bond
formation and thus stimulate others to create new bonds, assist in creating a general environment in which such bonds will be created (by exhortation, persuasion, propaganda, etc), profit from bonds which already exist
(and may incidentally result in the creation of new ones).
These will be used in the next section as a means of segmenting the market
to which the UIA sells its publications and services.
Market for Publications and Services
The organizations which obtain the results of UIA activities may be grouped
into two sectors. The profit market is the sector to which the UIA sells
its publications with the intention of making a profit in order to finance
the organization. The non-profit market is the sector which the UIA
contacts without receiving any direct financial return.
Profit-Market: The customers for UIA publications have
been split into groups in Exhibit
This Exhibit indicates how much each group contributes towards the overall
objective of the organization as redefined in the previous section. The
sales of the major groups of publications to each group have also been
indicated in the Exhibit. The figures given are only very approximate estimates
based on the judgment of the staff and the few statistics available. The
UIA has had great difficulty in obtaining accurate figures of its potential
market. There are several reasons for this. There is no clear
cut market for the majority of the products. Publications and services
concerned with international relations will only be purchased by a certain
percentage of a given group. This percentage varies from country to country
and in each country depends on current exchange control and internal funds
availability. An example is libraries. When there are few exchange control
difficulties and the individual purchasing committee can justify expenditure
of funds on non-national publications, and when the committee can support
purchases of non-specific publications, then that library enters the potential
market for a given publication.
In the organization's favour, for example, is the long-term increasing
interest in international organization. This means that librarians will
be increasingly disposed to purchase general works in this field, and
travel agents will be increasingly conscious of the international congress
field as an important market.
Another reason for the lack of figures is that the organization has not
attempted to maintain any sales statistics on a systematic basis and the
files are so organized as to make it difficult to establish such statictics. The UIA considers that most publications are underadvertised and
that it has not penetrated many sectors of the market.
Existing markets for existing publications are shown in Exhibit
attempt has been made to show the potential market for new publications.
Nor does the Exhibit show the profitability of individual publications.
Markets for Yearbook and Magazine: More detailed information
on the markets for the two principal publications was obtained by analysis
of the available records in the Distribution Department. The breakdown
of Yearbook of International Organizations sales is shown in Exhibit
21. The number printed for 1951 to 1966 is shown
21a. The breakdown of the monthly magazine subscribers is
given "by subscriber type in Exhibit
22a. The subscriber increases
1955 to 1968 are shown in Exhibit
23. The retention of subscribers is shown
24 and the change in the total circulation breakdown
from 1959 to 1968 is shown in Exhibit
The locality of purchasers of the Yearbook (Exhibit 21) is: Benelux (17%).
France/Italy/Switzerland (21%), U.K./Germany/Nordic (21%), North America
(34%). The figures on bookshop or via bookshop sales in Exhibit
21, conceal the type and locality of the final purchaser. Some of the bookshop
sales are to other countries via the U.S.A.
The principal purchasers of the Yearbook are (Exhibit
21): IGOs (10%),
university libraries (l8%), other libraries
(15%). government departments
(23%), commercial firms (12%), travel trade (11%). NGOs
institutes only account for 6% of sales. Only 1.6% of the Yearbook
were accompanied by an order for the magazine. It was not possible
to determine how many Yearbook purchasers had purchased previous editions.
Only about 1.7% have standing orders.
The principal purchasers of the magazine are (Exhibit
departments (115%), university libraries (l6%), other libraries
travel trade (22%). These subdivisions do not exactly correspond to
those for Yearbook sales. It was not possible to separate IGO and NGO
purchasers which together totalled 20%.
The locality of purchasers of the magazine (Exhibit
23) is: Benelux
(24%), France/Italy/Switzerland (29%), U.K./Germany/Nordic (22.4%),
North America (18.7%).
The major point emerging from a comparison between the two publications
is the much greater importance of the Yearbook in the North American
market. The Yearbook has shown gradually increasing sales. The 11th
edition will just reach 5000 sales by the time the 12th edition is published, after which the sales will be very slow.
The magazine subscriptions have shown a decrease (Exhibit
23) from 1960
to 1968 (Karen). An analysis was made of periods for which subscribers
retained their subscriptions in selected countries (Exhibit
shows that 63% of those cancelling within six years, do so after the
first years subscription. They represent 79% the subscribers. This
means that there is a very rapid turnover in readership. The number
cancelling after one year has increased in recent years. This is very
important. It may mean that readers are not obtaining what they want
from the magazine and are switching to competing publications.
An analysis of the magazine market from the addressograph plates of past,
current and some potential subscribers is given in Exhibit 22b. This
some indication of the current penetration of the magazine market.
The Exhibit makes the sales in different geographical areas equivalent
in order to bring out any special characteristics of each area. It
for example, that more magazines are sold to the English Overseas market
(30.5%) than to the French Overseas market (12.5%). The limitation of
these figures as a guide to a sales campaign is that they have been obtained from an analysis of current and 'dissatisfied' subscribers. Not
enough its known about the magazine market, a more detailed analysis
be a useful guide to magazine policy.
Non-Profit Market: The research done and the contacts
made by the UIA to broaden understanding of the international mechanism
do not necessarily lead to any financial return. If the work is of
sufficient value, if a document
is of a
certain significance, then this tends to improve the organization's reputation
in the field. This may in turn lead to research contracts or directly
to the sale of publications. These activities can be considered as a form
of indirect advertising.
A main feature of the UIA's activities in connection with this market
the queries received through the post on a whole range of topics within
its field. Some of the queries can be answered immediately, others
require lengthy research. No satisfactory procedure has been evolved for
dealing with this section of the non-profit market.
The organization has a special interest in the international NGOs. The
UIA is acknowledged as an expert in documentation on organizations in
field through its major publication, the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The organization considers that these NGOs form a critical part of the
international system and that their actions can do much to contribute
towards the facilitation of international cooperation. If possible, the
UIA would like them to represent a major segment of its market, together
with the libraries. The general and specialist public would then
linked via the UIA publications to the international NGOs.
In a previous section, the extent to which these organizations consider
themselves to form a common category was discussed. It is questionable
whether more than 500 of them at a maximum consider that they have any
common interests with other international NGOs, or even understand the
of the term. As will be shown later, very few of them purchase the UIA
The UIA has undertaken to educate these organizations regarding their
common interests by sending free copies of its monthly magazine to the
headquarters of each of them. It is very important therefore to get
clearer idea to what extent these organizations consider themselves to
have any characteristics in common. An effort should be made to do this
on a continuing basis in order to assess the success or otherwise of the
There is some indication that some NGOs resent the fact that the UIA
makes a profit in some of its activities. There would seem to be a
possibility that the growth of the profit market counteracts the growth
of the non-profit market, as it is influenced by the NGOs.
The problem of deciding which segments of the market to develop, which
allow to decline and by what criterion to select new potential markets
publications, entirely depends upon a continuous evaluation of objectives.
The UIA needs to decide very clearly what the sales of its publications
to particular markets contribute towards the fulfillment of its objectives.
Some markets may represent greater bond formation than others. Some
should perhaps not be exploited unless absolutely necessary since they
compete for advertising campaign funds with other more useful markets.
Competition for Resources
An international NGO with international cooperation as an objective could
be considered to have no competitors. Where there is competition, such
organizations should apparently cooperate. On -this reasoning
do not wish to use the term 'competitor' as descriptive of any features
of their environment.
NGOs do however compete in two ways. They compete with one another for
funds from the public, government, or foundations. The more eligible
organizations obtain the funds. They also compete more directly with one
another and with commercial and governmental bodies. This happens when
the activities of one organization are duplicated by another. Each
organization attempts to locate the most fruitful area of activity, within the limits of its objectives, and to operate exclusively in that area.
Hostility, paralleling that between competing commercial organizations,
develops when one organization attempts to enter the chosen field of another.
The UIA competitors have teen identified as far as possible in Exhibit
This provides an analysis of each of the UIA publications and services
and a comparison with those provided by competing organizations.
The areas of competition listed in the Exhibit are:
- publication sales
- library on NGO material
- congress organization techniques
- common NGO administrative and management problems
- international meeting information for congress organizers
- creation of a field of influence by which NGOs can
be persuaded to collaborate on programs or through a specially
- research on international organizations.
From the Exhibit it is clear that the UIA is competing with every type
organization. Competition is direct, where the UIA performs the same
service as other organizations. It is indirect where the UIA competes
similar organizations for resources.
The UIA does not have the advantage it had 10 20 years ago. The UIA,
whilst unique in that it covers all aspects of international NGO activity,
no longer operates in completely virgin territory. There are many commercial, national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations following up activities initially promoted by the UIA. This
be considered as an indication of the organization's success and a justification for its efforts.
It appears very likely that this trend will continue and that the UIA
will find new competitors which further split the market for its saleable products and grant resources. The main weakness of the UIA in dealing with the competition is that most of its assets as a documentation
centre are fully available to any competition in published form.
Two competitors (Library of Congress, Technical Meetings Information
constitute a major threat to the future of the calendar. Their calendars
contain more, if not better information, than that of the UIA. One
is athird of the price, and they are both reproduced completely every
quarter. It is fortunate that they are both primarily interested
in the U.S.A. market. The TMIS has only recently branched into
non-U.S.A./Canada meetings and may be planning to develop its sales
The Yearbook has many minor competitors which will continue to split the
market. These can only be met by providing more information more frequently or by preparing specialized Yearbooks. The major Yearbook weakness is the lack of information on national organizations. Such
information would make the Yearbook useful to a much wider market. This is one
of the advantages of the only general competitor (Europa Publications).
They may gradually be building up entries on international organizations
in their Yearbook so as to be able to justify the production of their own
'Yearbook of International Organizations' without any implication of copyright infringement. Their publication has the advantage that it appears
every year and is distributed through retail outlets.
Trends in the Field of Activity of Activity of Small Specialized Documentation
There are two important trends which will strongly affect the future of
the UIA as a small documentation centre. A3 requests for particular types
of information increase, a documentation centre has to continue to be able
to supply answers. If it cannot do so it will be by-passed on future
occasions. It will be difficult for such organizations to obtain funds.
Not only must a centre be able to provide the information, but it must
be able to supply it quickly, or else it will be by-passed as before. In
order to remain a viable centre, the UIA must therefore maintain close
contact with the groups which are currently using its published information. It must not only be able to handle the current requirements,
be able to anticipate future requirements.
Many libraries and documentation centres are faced with this problem.
order to combat it with the available resources they are being forced
integrate some of their operations. This permits them to exchange information quickly where a particular item is not present in a given collection
of data. In this way, information networks are being set up within and
ween countries using telex links (Van der Wolk, L.J. ,G1 ). It nay be
important for a small documentation centre like the UIA to be organized
such a way as to be able to link with one of these networks when they
become more common in the next 5 to 10 years.
The other important trend is the switch from emphasis on storing information to an emphasis on making information available. Traditionally documentation centres collected information, which was then available for
examination by interested parties. The information was generally organized
for the convenience of the documentation centre, not for the convenience
of those vising the information.
The situation is now changing very rapidly, particularly in the sciences.
Information services are increasingly organized for the inquirer's convenience. The trend is towards a situation where the documentation
must notify or supply each subscriber with the particular items of information he requires, as defined by an interest profile previously prepared.
(Van Dijk, M.,G2,p. 21-27)
A good example of this is the report pre-print service provided by one
of the major calendar competitors. This increases the utility of this
calendar and by-passes the need to consult current bibliographies such
that produced by the UIA. The UIA may need to be
able to offer this
sort of service at some future stage.
In order to deal with the rapidly increasing flow of information and the
increasingly specific requests of inquirers, much use will have to be
made of computers. It is too soon to determine what effect these will have
on small organizations but it will probably force many of them to merge
together to conserve resources and avoid duplication.