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Here is Seattle, the Crisis Clinic (with United Way funds) has an
extensive and well-regarded automatied data base of community resources
called the Community Information Line (206)461-3200.  I've heard, but
know no details, that they have been exploring ways to make some revenue
from either the data base or the capacity (i.e., by contracting to
provide public I&R services in areas with specialized needs -- perhaps
[I'm making this up] people who offer free or contract translation
services).
 
The public library offers a Community Information Line that focusses on
clubs and associations with an interest in offering information of one
sort or another to the public.  It has the capacity to record pretty
detailed information about upcoming public events (meetings, lectures,
bike-rides, etc etc), which is quite a different emphasis from the Info
Line.
 
The Library (but not, as far as I know, the Crisis Clinic) offers dial-in
service for the community information as well as access to their own
catalog and a limited set of information services through internet
links.  As you might expect, their 40 phone lines are frequently busy.
The Library's public information number is (206)386-4103.  They are also
on the Washington Libraries Net, but as far as I know there are only
individual's addresses there, not an institutional one where general
queries could appropriately be sent.
 
I don't think the crisis clinic database includes much in the way of
cultural or recreational information.  I don't think the library's would
be much use for trying to match someone with appropriate community or
social service resources.  Neither one has any 'broad' tie to the
for-profit or commercial services which offer 'parallel' opportunities
(movies, for example, as compared with live theater).
 
As far as I know, there has never been any community hostility to either
of these centralized services.  Efforts that have been made from time
to time to track all the funding flows among community-serving agencies
and to build a data-base that would support donors' and funders' natural
curiosities along those lines.  +Those+ have not been popular plans....
 
Putnam Barber
Seattle