Independent European Group of SPSS Users


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The History of ASSESS

ASSESS is an independent European user group for SPSS, a computer package for analysing and presenting data. Its first major events were a UK one-day conference at York in November 1987 and a three-day international conference in Amsterdam in March 1988. Since that time the main focus of ASSESS has been in the UK, where the SPSS user community has been particularly strong. It has organised an annual one-day conference, workshops, and other events in the UK See our Activities page to learn these, and our Diary page for information about forthcoming events. ASSESS also maintains this website and runs a mailing list, ASSESS-NEWS, for announcing events etc

ASSESS, the name and the logo

Why the name ASSESS? The first issue of the Assess Newsletter, dated April 1988, contained the following article, written by Gerrit Stemerdink, of the Agricultural University Wageningen, The Netherlands.

When ASSESS was in the process of being founded, its name was IDEAS. This name had been chosen by Mr P. Boon, who had been invited by SPSS to take the first steps towards the forming of an SPSS User Group.

Apart from the obvious meaning of the word IDEAS, it could also be regarded as an acronym for ISSUE Distinguished European Association. And ISSUE in its turn was the name of the then existing American SPSS User Group.

When the ASSESS board met in Rome, during COMPSTAT 86, it became evident that a new name was needed. First of all the name IDEAS was already in use by a British pharmaceutical information service. Second, it didn't seem appropriate to have a name that was related to ISSUES, as this organisation no longer existed. After much discussion, the name ASSESS came up. For non-native readers of the English language: Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English describes 'to assess' as 'to judge the quality or worth of'. This seemed a meaningful name for an organisation like ours. And of course, as is customary in the computing world, we found it to be an acronym for the ASSociation of European Spss userS.

The logo for ASSESS has been designed by Mr G. Arabin of Basel, Switzerland. It is a charming composition of the characters that make up the word ASSESS. Perhaps Gerald's Swiss origins accounts for the fact that one could see Wilhelm Tell's arrow in the logo.... But if you would like to interpret this differently and discover that Neptune's trident is a prominent part of the logo, please do so. For the board members, it is just a nice logo that will help to spread ASSESS's name and fame.

As for the colour of the logo, this is as close as we could get to that used for the cover of the SPSS "burgundy manual" published in the 1970s (using non-dithering colours only, in order not to create horrible effects on-screen).

Last amended 18 October, 2017

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