Book Reviews

Johan Koren

Global Links: A Guide to Key People and Institutions Worldwide.
Edited by Cynthia J. Levy and Jeffrey D. Schultz.
Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx, 1998.
ISBN: 1–573–573–56224–6, ix, 177 pages.

A directory based on an earlier set of links created by Cynthia Levy for students, Global Links is intended to provide a listing of names and addresses of prominent institutions and individuals in all the countries and territories of the world. According to the preface, “the goal was to create an easy–to–use and regularly updated information resource that would be a vital link in the global information chain.” The guide is designed for use in business, libraries and information services, schools and universities and for travelers looking for the names and contact information for government officials, political leaders, and other key personnel and institutions.

For each country and territory, the guide provides a telephone prefix, without explaining that this in most cases is the country code plus the prefix for the capital. We are told, for example, that the telephone prefix for the United States is (202), which covers most of Washington, D.C., but this ignores the (1) required for long distance and national dialing. Occasionally, an international Web site is listed. In other cases, Web sites are included for various government departments or institutions. The remainder of the entries cover executives (presidents, royal or other rulers, premiers, governors, etc.), government ministers, legislative leaders, judicial officials, selected diplomats, major political parties, leaders of the central bank and major media and communications institutions (national broadcasting companies and newspapers or press committees). The incumbents of each position at the time of publication is named, usually with a telephone number (p–a confusing abbreviation for non–English speakers not used to phone instead of telephone), telefax (f), an e–mail address, if available, and occasionally a telex number. The preface is careful to note that “the information in this volume is accurate as of April 1998,” with some efforts to update entries to June 1998 where governments changed while the book was being compiled. This, however, illustrates a central drawback in a print directory of this type, when governments and individuals change often, and e–mail and Web addresses are even more ephemeral. The preface, as already noted, claims that the guide’s goal was to publish a “regularly updated information resource.” The publisher’s Web site, in addition, promises annual editions of Global Links. None have appeared to date.

No accents, diacritics or non–English letters are used, which makes for confusion in communication. This must be considered insensitive in a global age when technology has made it a simple matter to reproduce names and titles as they were originally written.

About the Author

Johan Koren is Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dominican University.

© 1999 Johan Koren.