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 after 1/1/2004)
  • 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. (eliminated 12/19/2003)
  • 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 community.

  • 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 sources.
  •  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 activity.
  • 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 improvement.

  • 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. (eliminated 1/1/2004)
  • 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 document delivery.
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