CH -- Business and Economics


Firmendatenbank [Company Database]. Darmstadt: Hoppenstedt

1997, no.1. 1 CD-ROM + user's guide. DM 2,400.00. (2 issues per year)

The well-known Hoppenstedt company directories have been reviewed several times in their printed form (e.g., IFB 95-2-238 and 243). In addition to the print and online offerings, in 1996 the publisher began marketing a new product line called "Book-CD." This review describes the functionality of these Book-CD products by looking at one title: the Firmendatenbank [Company Database].

The Firmendatenbank contains data from the following separate reference works: Handbuch der Großunternehmen; Handbuch der mittelständischen Unternehmen; Banken-Ortslexikon; Verbände, Behörden, Organisationen der Wirtschaft; and Bilanzdatenbank. According to the publisher, some 125,000 institutions and 340,000 executives are included.

The search screen offers five fields for searching: (1) company name (only here can an "and/or" modifier be used), (2) place name, (3) postal code, (4) branch of industry code, and (5) keywords from the company's product descriptions. Search results are initially given quantitatively. Individual results for company names are then displayed in an alphabetical list by location. At this point single entries can be marked for printing or to call up individual records. The complete entry includes the information familiar from the printed publications. A special feature of the Book-CD is the ability to click on branch codes for additional information about management, branches, areas of business activity, etc.

Exporting data from the Book-CD is not possible. An export feature would be a welcome addition. Both complete entries and retrieval lists can be printed out. Arrangement of this information can be modified using a dialog box. In addition, format features such as page numbers, columns, page breaks, font type and size, can also be selected.

While the complete version of the Firmendatenbank auf CD-ROM offers unrestricted access to all 130,000 companies (at the high annual cost of DM 24,000 for four issues, not including charges for exporting data), this Book-CD title offers little information beyond that available in the printed publications. The Firmendatenbank Book-CD is useful and attractive since it offers this same data in a single location that can be searched in a variety of ways; the results can then be printed according to various print options. Since many libraries already subscribe to the directories included in this Book-CD, it would be sufficient to purchase this title alone--the other Book-CD titles (with data from individual directories) duplicate this information and are aimed at the corporate market. [sah/msc]


Wer gehört zu wem: Beteiligungsverhältnisse in Deutschland [Who Belongs to Whom: Corporate Ownership in Germany]. Compiled by Commerzbank AG, Zentraler Stab Kommunikation. Frankfurt am Main: Commerzbank AG. 21 cm. ISSN 0171-9688. (Commerzbank AG, Zentrale, 60261 Frankfurt am Main, fax [49 69] 1362- 3422)

19th ed. (1997). 1399 p.

The Commerzbank has published this reference work on corporate ownerships in Germany since 1954. It currently appears every three years. The companies are listed alphabetically by name, with location, the branch code according to NACE (the standard classification schedule of the business branches of the European Community, also used in the publications of the Hoppenstedt company), the stock fund, and stockholders with their holdings. Cross-references are made to the individual entries for subsidiary companies. Two indexes of names are provided: partners and stockholders, and foreign partners. A short glossary of German subject terms with their English, French, Italian and Spanish equivalents is also included. The terms of the glossary are r ather general and it is rather superfluous: who would think of looking up a foreign term in a directory of this sort?

In Wer gehört zu wem, one can quickly look up the stockholders and partners of the 13,000 companies listed (whose investments equal at least 1 million DM). The index also makes it possible to determine who is active as partners in which are as and in which firms in Germany. The information is also offered online over DataStar and Genios. There is also a CD-ROM edition available for the incredible price of DM 498.00 (compared to the printed edition). Whether the CD-ROM offers additional information to justify its high price could not be determined. [sah/msc]


Wem gehört die Republik? Die Konzerne und ihre Verflechtungen; Namen, Zahlen, Fakten [Who Owns the Republic? Corporations and Their Connections; Names, Numbers, Facts]. Rüdiger Liedtke. Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn. 22 cm

1998 (1997). 635 p. ill. ISBN 3-8218-1498-5: DM 48.00

For the seventh time since 1988, Rüdiger Liedtke once again poses the question: To whom does the Republic belong? The "Republic" in question is, of course, the Federal Republic of Germany, and to answer this question Liedtke describes the 100 largest corporations in Germany, along with their history and development, ownership, and corporate family tree. Also provided is an index of stockholders and partners, an overview of the firms they own and their investments (often with several pages of diagrams), as well as information about the owners of these firms. Additional information covers corporations' contributions to the state of Germany, their environment policies, their research and development activities, and, finally, an overall commentary. Numerous facts and dates are given in column form, sometimes illustrated with diagrams offering annual comparisons for 1994 through 1996. Also provided is each company's address, branches, business year, founding year, firm responsible for public relations, association memberships, personnel budget, and investments. The index of names and companies at the end of the volume serves, among other things, to demonstrate the complex interrelationships between German corporations. [sah/msc]


Annotierte Bibliographie ökonomischer Fachwörterbücher: Wirtschaft insgesamt, Volkswirtschaftslehre, allgemeine Betriebswirtschaftslehre [Annotated Bibliography of Dictionaries of Economics: The Economy, Economics, Management Theory]. Lorenz Fichtel. Salzweg: Bibliotheksverlag. 30 cm. (Arbeitsmaterialien für Wirtschaftsbibliotheken, . . . ) (Bibliotheksverlag, Bachwiese 1a, D-94121 Salzweg)

1997. 22 p. (Arbeitsmaterialien, 2) ISBN 3-928708-09-0: DM 14.50; DM 11.00 (subscription)

This annotated bibliography is an updated collection of the author's reviews of German-language economics dictionaries which have appeared in Informationsmittel für Bibliotheken. The three areas included--the economy, economics, management theory--are separated by colored sheets with tables outlining the major characteristics of the works covered. The author plans to issue a new edition of the bibliography each year which will extend coverage to out-of-print reports, and, eventually, into other fields. [sh/vh]


Special Report: German Telephone Books on the World Wide Web

Three sources of German telephone directory information have become available on the Web recently. Of these, Tele-Info, from the CD-ROM reference publisher Tele-Info Verlag, is the least useful, obscuring its search interface in a blizzard of advertising and commercial links. It also offers an overload of search options, while help or explanations of their use are difficult to find. Its coverage is suspect as well: of fourteen names chosen from the current Stuttgart phone book, only seven numbers could be found after trying every possible search approach.

By contrast, D-Info, from TopWare in Mannheim, is remarkably user-friendly. Its features include search interfaces in English, Italian, and Dutch, as well as German; a timesaving text-only option; "exact" and "fuzzy" options for every search field; display choices of 10, 25, 35, or 50 hits per page; a choice of German, Austrian, Italian, and Dutch directories; and freedom to combine any and all fields in a search. Additional features such as the ability to collate phone numbers by house, street, or postal code are attractive to users--but raise privacy concerns. Cross-referencing, for example from a named city section to the city as a whole, is a missing feature that would be useful. Coverage seems better, too, than that of Tele-Info: the fourteen-name search test yielded results for eleven. Unfortunately, as of the beginning of 1998, D-Info was taken offline as part of a corporate site overhaul, and is at least temporarily unavailable.

Teleauskunft, the official Web-based directory service of Deutsche Telekom, offers a clumsy user interface burdened by a heavy and ill-considered use of frames. The unsuspecting user trying to use the back button in browsing a display will be thrown out of a search completely. Comprehensiveness appears to be less than in the corresponding print telephone directories, if the 14-name search test (producing here, as with D-Info, eleven hits) is any indication. The only conceivable explanation for this discrepancy would be customer requests not to publish their numbers online.

None of the above databases is up to the task of dependable nationwide directory-assistance service, but libraries still might find D-Info, backed up by Teleauskunft, worthwhile for quick lookups. D-Info's compatibility with Germany's data-privacy laws, however, has yet to be tested. [rh/vh&gw]

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