A telephone directory (also called a telephone book and phone book) is a listing of telephone subscribers in a geographical area or subscribers to services provided by the organization that publishes the directory.
In the case of unlisted numbers, practices as to Caller-ID vary by jurisdiction. Sometimes, the Caller-ID on outbound calls is blank; in other jurisdictions, unlisted numbers still appear, unless the caller dials a blocking code; in still others, the customer may request automatic blocking from the telephone company's service representatives.
In some countries under current rules and practices, mobile phone and Voice over IP listings are not included in telephone directories. Efforts to create cellular directories have met stiff opposition from several fronts, including a significant percentage of subscribers who seek to avoid telemarketers.
In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in Feist v. Rural) that telephone companies do not have a copyright on telephone listings, because copyright protects creativity and not the mere labor of collecting existing information. Within the geographical reach of the Court, the Feist ruling has resulted in the availability of many innovative telephone directory services on CD-ROM and the World Wide Web.
Telephone directories can be published in hard copy or in electronic form. In the latter case, the directory can be provided as an online service through proprietary terminals or over the Internet, or on physical media such as CD-ROM.
A telephone directory may also be called a phone book or may be known by the color of the paper it is printed on.
A telephone directory may also provide instructions about how to use the telephone service in the local area, may give important numbers for emergency services, utilities, hospitals, doctors and organizations who can provide support in times of personal crisis. It may also have civil defense or emergency management information. There may be transit maps, postal code guides, or stadium seating charts, as well as advertising.
The first telephone directory, consisting of a single page, was issued on February 21, 1878. It covered 50 subscribers in New Haven, Connecticut. The Reuben H. Donnelly company asserts that it published the first classified directory, or yellow pages, for Chicago, Illinois, in 1886. The first British telephone directory was published in 1880.
WIPO ASSIGNS PATENT TO PIONEER FOR "TELEPHONE BOOK DATA SHARING SYSTEM, NAVIGATION DEVICE, TERMINAL DEVICE, PROGRAM, AND STORAGE MEDIUM" (JAPANESE INVENTORS)
Dec 31, 2010; GENEVA, Dec. 31 -- Publication No. WO/2010/146703 was published on Dec. 23. Title of the invention: "TELEPHONE BOOK DATA SHARING...
Patent No. 7,769,365 Issued on Aug. 3, Assigned to Motorola for Telephone Book Indexing Methods, Interfaces (Illinois Inventors)
Aug 04, 2010; ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 10 -- Chad L. Biederman of Round Lake, Ill., and Roger D. Richardson of Mundelein, Ill., have developed...