ViewsWire Bundles Best of EIU

Article excerpt

Mick O'Leary has been using and writing about online information for over 15 years. He is the director of the library at Frederick, Maryland, and a principal in The Data Brokers, an information consultancy. His e-mail address is 71735.2041@compuserve.com.

The service contains key profile and forcast data for 195 countries

The Economist Group of publications and databases is esteemed for the quality of its economics and political analysis. The flagship is The Economist magazine, the model of the low-circulation/high-influence current affairs journal. The group publishes several other magazines that are influential in their respective spheres of business, commerce, and politics, including the Journal of Commerce, Traffic World, CFO, and Roll Call.

Heavy-duty analysis and research are carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which publishes detailed, authoritative reports on 200 countries. These cover each nation's politics, economy, demographics, finance, risk prospects, and outlook. The EIU also publishes reports and forecasts on general management trends and selected industries, especially in trade and transportation.

The EIU distributes all of this through an extensive series of journals, print subscription series, and individual research reports. Different combinations of EIU publications are available on several leading online database and news services. In 1997, EIU inaugurated its own, Web-based service with its complete product line (http://www.eiu.com).

Getting Right to the Point

For all of its deserved eminence, the large, sprawling EIU collection can be intimidating in its complexity and cost. Whether in print or online, it is a complicated and expensive mix of textual and statistical background reports, data compilations, briefings, risk evaluations, and forecasts. The timeliness of most EIU products is also an issue these days. EIU's print and online publications are typically updated quarterly or monthly, which, in today's politico-economic environment, is positively archaic.

Both objections are squarely addressed by ViewsWire, a joint-reference book/briefing service/newswire that gathers the best of EIU into a single, concise database. ViewsWire contains key profile and forecast data, along with up-to-date reporting and analysis, for countries, regions, and industries worldwide. ViewsWire extracts the most widely needed information from throughout the entire EIU product line, as well as from other Economist Group publications and a few other first-rate sources like the Financial Times. ViewsWire's accelerated publishing schedule enables its analysis to follow events by a few days instead of months. It is consistently organized and integrated, making it easy to move from demographic summaries to population growth forecasts to interpretations of the latest election.

All Countries Great and Small

ViewsWire covers 195 countries, from the largest global powers down to tiny states like Aruba, Moldavia, and Djibouti. The major commercial nations rightly receive most of the coverage, but even the smallest countries have summary profiles and a set of forecasts. Dozens of countries of economic significance have an extensive range of political and economic information, arranged in three broad categories:Background, Forecasts, and Briefings.

ViewsWire's Background departments present a statistical and narrative profile of the country's politics, demographics, economics, finance, and commercial structure. Separate sections are devoted to overviews of the country's regulatory environment for foreign exchange, taxation, and trade.

This information is condensed from full-size EIU country reports, presenting a concise distillation of the key facts and figures. Much of it is a generic commodity, available elsewhere in any number of almanacs, reference books, and Web sites. Nevertheless, it is convenient to have it close at hand, especially to provide context for the information in the Forecasts and Briefings categories. …