A telephone directory, also called a phone book consists of a record of persons and companies who subscribed to the book. The listing is arranged by area and for companies, by the service it provides, then again by area. The directory itself is composed of sections. The white page section lists names of subscribers alphabetically arranged, and government offices which are also arranged alphabetically. The yellow page section lists business phone numbers and addresses.
A nationwide telephone directory can be found at telephone companies, which distribute copies to all subscribers. The directories are free of charge and printing costs are shouldered by telephone companies. In France, the telecom system attempted to avoid a paper copy of the directory. It rented a minitel terminal to print the telephone number and address of the subscriber. It turned out that it was more expensive so the telephone company continued issuing copies of the phone book to all its subscribers.
In Switzerland, pay phones are also directory terminals, which are electronic. Users are charged per search but paper directories have been totally eliminated. Costs per call and directory search are only minimal.
Nationwide telephone directories may be published in paper form or in electronic form. Online forms are served through personal terminals or over the Internet. They can also be transferred to a CD-ROM. Most countries today do not publish a telephone book anymore.
Because of the Internet, only a few people use the telephone book. The information we can see in the telephone book is the name and address of the subscriber. Sometimes the name listed is no longer available due to migration or death but the name is retained for whatever reason. Accuracy can be an issue and it seems that more details of an individual are available on the Internet anyway.
Telephone books or directories may still be useful in households without a computer. There is still information that is important to subscribers, which can immediately be found in a telephone directory. The Canadian telephone directory gives not only the name, address and telephone number of the subscriber but also the Zip Code. Other information can be given by the Internet.
Some telephone subscribers do not allow their names to be listed in a directory. In this case, a caller-ID may identify the caller to the telephone number that has been called. However, Caller-IDs are not available in some areas. So it is the problem of the receiver to identify the caller.
Finding the nationwide telephone directory does not only refer to printed white and yellow pages in hard copy. There are also white and yellow pages on the Internet and to avoid expense, and help the environment, we are beginning to move to a paperless society.