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A telephone directory, commonly called a telephone book, telephone address book, phone book, or the white and yellow pages, is a listing of telephone
subscriber The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer must pay a recurring price at regular intervals for access to a product. The model was pioneered by publishers of books and periodicals in the 17th century, and is now used ...
s in a geographical area or subscribers to services provided by the organization that publishes the directory. Its purpose is to allow the telephone number of a subscriber identified by name and address to be found. The advent of the Internet and
smartphones A smartphone is a mobile device that combines mobile phone, cellular and mobile computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems, which ...

smartphones
in the 21st century greatly reduced the need for a paper phone book. Some communities, such as
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in bot ...

Seattle
and
San Francisco San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern Calif ...

San Francisco
, sought to ban their unsolicited distribution as wasteful, unwanted and harmful to the environment.Yellow Pages ruling endangers SF ban
Heather Knight, ''
San Francisco Chronicle The ''San Francisco Chronicle'' is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area The San Francisco Bay Area, popularly referred to as the Bay Area, is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco Bay, San Francisco, San Pablo Ba ...
'', 15 October 2012; retrieved 19 March 2013
The slogan "Let Your Fingers Do the Walking" refers to use of phone books.


Content

Subscriber names are generally listed in alphabetical order, together with their postal or street address and
telephone number A telephone number is a sequence of digits assigned to a fixed-line telephone subscriber station connected to a telephone line or to a wireless electronic telephony device, such as a radio telephone or a mobile telephone, or to other devices f ...
. In principle every subscriber in the geographical coverage area is listed, but subscribers may request the exclusion of their number from the directory, often for a fee; their number is then said to be "unlisted" ( US and Canada), "ex-directory" (
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the ...
), or "private" (Australia and New Zealand). A telephone directory may also provide instructions: how to use the telephone service, how to dial a particular number, be it local or international, what numbers to access important and
emergency services Emergency services and rescue services are organizations which ensure public safety and health by addressing different emergency, emergencies. Some of these agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies whilst others deal with ...
, utilities, hospitals, doctors, and organizations who can provide support in times of crisis. It may also have
civil defense Civil defense ( en, region=gb, civil defence) or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from natural disasters. It uses the principles of emergency operations: Hazard prevention, prevention, #M ...
or
emergency management Emergency management is the organization and management of the resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') ar ...
information. There may be transit maps, postal code/zip code guides, international dialing codes or stadium seating charts, as well as advertising. In the US, under current rules and practices, mobile phone and
voice over IP Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that co ...
listings are not included in telephone directories. Efforts to create cellular directories have met stiff opposition from several fronts, including those who seek to avoid
telemarketer Telemarketing (sometimes known as inside sales, or telesales in the UK and Ireland) is a method of direct marketing in which a salesperson solicits prospective customers to buy products or services, either over the phone or through a subseque ...
s.


Types

A telephone directory and its content may be known by the colour of the paper it is printed on. * White pages generally indicates personal or alphabetic listings. *
Yellow pages The yellow pages are any telephone directory of businesses, organized by category rather than alphabetically by business name, and in which advertising is sold. The directories were originally printed on yellow paper, as opposed to Telephone d ...
, golden pages, A2Z, or classified directory is usually a "business directory", where businesses are listed alphabetically within each of many classifications (e.g., "lawyers"), almost always with paid advertising. * Grey pages, sometimes called a "reverse telephone directory", allowing subscriber details to be found for a given number. Not available in all jurisdictions. (These listings are often published separately, in a city directory, or under another name, for a price, and made available to commercial and government agencies.) Other colors may have other meanings; for example, information on
government agencies A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an Administration ...
is often printed on
blue pages Blue pages are a telephone directory A telephone directory, commonly called a telephone book, telephone address book, phone book, or the white and yellow pages, is a listing of telephone subscribers in a geographical area or subscribers to ser ...
or green pages.


Publication

Telephone directories can be published in
hard copy In information handling, the U.S. Federal Standard 1037C Federal Standard 1037C, titled Telecommunications: Glossary of Telecommunication Terms, is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United State ...
or in electronic form. In the latter case, the directory can be on physical media such as CD-ROM, or using an online service through proprietary terminals or over the Internet. In many countries directories are both published in book form and also available over the Internet. Printed directories were usually supplied free of charge.


History

Telephone directories are a type of
city directory A city directory is a listing of residents, streets, businesses, organizations or institutions, giving their location in a city. It may be arranged alphabetically or geographically or in other ways. Antedating telephone directories, they were i ...
. Books listing the inhabitants of an entire city were widely published starting in the 18th century, before the invention of the telephone. The first telephone directory, consisting of a single piece of cardboard, was issued on 21 February 1878; it listed 50 individuals, businesses, and other offices in
New Haven, Connecticut New Haven is a coastal city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is located on New Haven Harbor on the northern shore of Long Island Sound in New Haven County, Connecticut, and is part of the New York metropolitan area. With a population of 129,7 ...
that had telephones. The directory was not alphabetized and no numbers were associated with the people included in it. In 1879, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker suggested the format of the telephone directory be changed so that subscribers appeared in alphabetical order and each telephone be identified with a number. Dr. Parker came to this idea out of fear that
Lowell, Massachusetts Lowell () is a city in the U.S. Commonwealth of Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It borders on the Atlantic ...
's four operators would contract
measles Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by Measles morbillivirus, measles virus. Symptoms usually develop 10–12 days after exposure to an infected person and last 7–10 days. Initial symptoms typically include fever, often ...
and be unable to connect telephone subscribers to one another. The first British telephone directory was published on 15 January 1880 by The Telephone Company. It contained 248 names and addresses of individuals and businesses in London; telephone numbers were not used at the time as subscribers were asked for by name at the exchange. The directory is preserved as part of the British phone book collection by BT Archives. The Reuben H. Donnelly company asserts that it published the first classified directory, or yellow pages, for Chicago, Illinois, in 1886. In 1938,
AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a s ...
commissioned the creation of a new type font, known as BELL GOTHIC, the purpose of which was to be readable at very small font sizes when printed on newsprint where small imperfections were common. In 1981, France was the first country to have an electronic directory on a system called
Minitel The Minitel was a videotex File:Minitel1.jpg, Minitel was perhaps the most successful videotex service worldwide, using this terminal, circa 1982. Videotex (or interactive videotex) was one of the earliest implementations of an end-user informati ...
. The directory is called "11" after its telephone access number. In 1991, the
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a coun ...

U.S. Supreme Court
ruled (in ''
Feist v. Rural ''Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co.'', 499 U.S. 340 (1991), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the Supreme court, highest court in the Federal jud ...
'') that telephone companies do not have a
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy and distribute a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyrigh ...

copyright
on telephone listings, because copyright protects creativity and not the mere labor of collecting existing information. In 1996, the first telephone directories went online in the USA. Yellowpages.com and
Whitepages.com Whitepages is a provider of online directory services, fraud screening, background checks and identity verification for consumers and businesses. It has the largest database available of contact information on US residents. Whitepages was founded ...
both saw their start in April. In 1999, the first online telephone directories and people-finding sites such as LookupUK.com went online in the UK. In 2003, more advanced UK searching including Electoral Roll became available on LocateFirst.com. In the 21st century, printed telephone directories are increasingly criticized as waste. In 2012, after some North American cities passed laws banning the distribution of telephone books, an industry group sued and obtained a court ruling permitting the distribution to continue. Manufacture and distribution of telephone directories produces over 1,400,000 metric tons of
greenhouse gases A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature' ...

greenhouse gases
and consumes over 600,000 tons of paper annually.


Reverse directories

A reverse telephone directory is sorted by number, which can be looked up to give the name and address of the subscriber.


See also

*
Silent number In telephony, an unlisted number (United States, New Zealand), ex-directory number (United Kingdom) silent number, silent line (Australia), or private number (New Zealand, and Canada) is a telephone number that is intentionally not listed in telep ...
*
City directory A city directory is a listing of residents, streets, businesses, organizations or institutions, giving their location in a city. It may be arranged alphabetically or geographically or in other ways. Antedating telephone directories, they were i ...


References


Further reading

*


External links

* *
Phone Book of the World.comLookupAmerica.com
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Telephone Directory Telephone numbers Directories History of the telephone American inventions 1878 introductions