This was written around January 2003. Since that time,
the US Department of Education
decided to revise the structure of the ERIC System by eliminating all ERIC
clearinghouses and most of the services they provide. The government will
continue to maintain the core ERIC database and will implement some sorely
needed improvements (faster turn-around time, free access to ERIC documents).
For more information see
notice issued by the Department of Education on November 25, 2003.
A Little About ERIC
The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) is the nationís
information network connecting virtually all educational information providers
and educational information users. ERIC is a public service that uses technology
to increase access to education research and practice to improve learning,
teaching, and community-based educational decision-making.
ERIC offers the substantive information people need.
The ERIC database includes summaries of more than 1,200,000 documents and
journal articles on education research and practice written since 1966. The
ERIC database is the third most frequently used database in any field (Computers
in Libraries, February 1995).
Via the Internet, ERIC provides electronic access to a wide range of
educational information and resources including full-text lesson plans and
tests, thematic essays, reference material, and pointers to what others are
doing. (eliminated 12/19/2003)
ERIC produces and disseminates more than 2,000 briefing papers (Digests)
with over 150 titles added annually. These syntheses provide balanced coverage
of all the important education topics, including educational management,
assessment, professional development, technology, and reform. (no new Digests
ERIC is a mediated education information system. Each year, the 16
subject-oriented ERIC Clearinghouses respond to over 150,000 email and
telephone requests. (eliminated 12/19/2003)
ERIC has a tremendous audience.
Each month, more than 7 million people use the ERIC database via public
access points on the internet and through commercial on-line services.
More than 10 million people log onto ERIC Internet sites each month. ERIC
has long been cited among the most useful places to visit (Internet World,
January 1995; PC Computing, May 1995). The popularity of the ERIC web
sites far exceeds that of any other federally sponsored education program.
The ERIC Digests were the most popular item at the US Department of
Education web site. Usage exceeded that of student financial aid information.
Teachers in K-12 schools, universities, colleges, corporations, and public
institutions consistently make use of ERIC information to help with
decision-making and practical improvements in the education process.
ERIC brings efficiency and economy to the education
By offering a well-organized central repository for education information,
ERIC streamlines educational decision-making. Local and state agencies
naturally turn to ERIC rather than duplicating the costs that would be
incurred if they had to research, identify, and collect material from multiple
By identifying other organizations that have addressed similar
issues, ERIC helps local and state education agencies learn from each other.
ERIC leverages partnerships.
The federal investment forms the hub for many interconnected partnerships.
These coordinated efforts with public and private partners enable ERIC to
effectively and efficiently provide enhanced products and services. Heinmiller
(Cost and usage study of the ERIC System, 1981) estimated that each $1
of federal investment was leveraged to more than $20 in ERIC associated
The ERIC system currently maintains formal partnerships with more than 600
education organizations to aid in the development, announcement, and
distribution of education information.
ERIC maintains no-cost-to-the-government corporate partnerships which
provide print materials, document delivery as well as improved document
acquisitions. These corporate partnerships have included companies such as
Computer Science Corporation, the Ford Foundation, the Educational Testing
Service, and the American Bar Association.
Companies such as Apple Computer and Sun Microsystems have made
significant equipment donations.
ERIC capitalizes on technology for continuous
ERIC has a history of technological innovation, first as the creator of
the first commercial online database in the 1960s, then as an early adopter of
CD-ROM technology in the 1980s.
ERIC offers the award-winning AskERIC question-answering service.
Content-rich web sites developed by the ERIC system are visited by more
than 2,000,000 users each month. (eliminated 12/19/2003)
ERIC is highly customer-driven.
ERIC was one of the first organizations to provide large scale, on-line