Encyclopedic dictionary

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Title page from the 1894 four volume version of Robert Hunter's The Encyclopaedic Dictionary. The Encyclopaedic Dictionary.jpg
Title page from the 1894 four volume version of Robert Hunter's The Encyclopædic Dictionary.

An encyclopedic dictionary typically includes many short listings, arranged alphabetically, and discussing a wide range of topics. [1] Encyclopedic dictionaries can be general, containing articles on topics in many different fields; or they can specialize in a particular field, such as art, biography, law, medicine, or philosophy. They may also be organized around a particular academic, cultural, ethnic, or national perspective.

Contents

Historically, the term has been used to refer to any encyclopedic reference book (that is, one comprehensive in scope), which was organized alphabetically, as with the familiar dictionary. (The term dictionary preceded encyclopedia in common usage by about two centuries.) To convey their alphabetic method of organization and to contrast that method with other systems for classifying knowledge, many early encyclopedias were titled or sub-titled "a dictionary of arts and sciences" or something similar.

However, it later developed into a somewhat distinct class of reference books. While there are similarities to both dictionaries and encyclopedias, there are important distinctions as well:

Compared to a dictionary, the encyclopedic dictionary offers a more complete description and a choice of entries selected to convey a range of knowledge. Compared to an encyclopedia, the encyclopedic dictionary offers ease of use, through summarized entries and in some cases more entries of separate terms; and often reduced size, and the reduced publishing and purchase cost that implies.

The question of how to structure the entries, and how much information to include, are among the core issues in organizing reference books. As different approaches are better suited to different uses or users, all three approaches have been in wide use since the end of the 18th century.

The title of the volume may not be a good indication of which type of reference it is, as commercial concerns may have affected the publisher's selection of a title.

History

Illustration of fossils from Brockhaus and Efron's Encyclopedic Dictionary (1890--1907) Iconographic Encyclopedia of Science, Literature and Art 054.jpg
Illustration of fossils from Brockhaus and Efron's Encyclopedic Dictionary (1890—1907)

The encyclopedic dictionary evolved from the dictionary. John Harris subtitled his landmark Lexicon Technicum a "universal English dictionary of Arts and Sciences"; it was the first English-language, alphabetically ordered collection of knowledge.

The 18th-century encyclopedists, in turn, dramatically expanded the depth and, in some cases, substantially revised the organization of the encyclopedic dictionary to create the early major encyclopedias, the French Encyclopédie and later the British Encyclopædia Britannica . However, such comprehensive works were costly and difficult to produce, and to keep current; and the detailed entries were not ideal for some reference uses. The first version of the German Conversations-Lexikon (1796–1808) was just 2,762 pages in six volumes, and while that work was later expanded, its format using numerous, less lengthy entries served as the principal model for many 19th-century encyclopedias and encyclopedic dictionaries.

The principal English-language encyclopaedic dictionary of the nineteenth century was the seven-volume in 14 eponymous work by Robert Hunter (1823–1897), published by Cassell in 1879–88, and reprinted many times up to 1910, including (1895) as the mass-circulation Lloyd's Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Hunter was assisted by zoology author Henry Scherren and a small team of domestic assistants at his house in Loughton. In the US, the dictionary was reissued with a variety of titles.

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Dictionary Collection of words and their meanings

A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arranged alphabetically, which may include information on definitions, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translation, etc.. It is a lexicographical reference that shows inter-relationships among the data.

Encyclopedia Type of reference work

An encyclopedia, encyclopædia, or encyclopaedia is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either from all branches or from a particular field or discipline. Encyclopedias are divided into articles or entries that are often arranged alphabetically by article name and sometimes by thematic categories. Encyclopedia entries are longer and more detailed than those in most dictionaries. Generally speaking, unlike dictionary entries—which focus on linguistic information about words, such as their etymology, meaning, pronunciation, use, and grammatical forms—encyclopedia articles focus on factual information concerning the subject named in the article's title.

Library classification Systems of coding and organizing documents or library materials

A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged and ordered systematically. Library classifications use a notational system that represents the order of topics in the classification and allows items to be stored in that order. Library classification systems group related materials together, typically arranged as a hierarchical tree structure. A different kind of classification system, called a faceted classification system, is also widely used, which allows the assignment of multiple classifications to an object, enabling the classifications to be ordered in many ways.

Lexicography is the study of lexicons, and is divided into two separate but equally important academic disciplines:

Reference work Publication to which one can refer for confirmed facts

A reference work is a work, such as a book or periodical, to which one can refer for information. The information is intended to be found quickly when needed. Such works are usually referred to for particular pieces of information, rather than read beginning to end. The writing style used in these works is informative; the authors avoid use of the first person, and emphasize facts.

Slang is language of an informal register. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of particular in-groups prefer over the common vocabulary of a standard language in order to establish group identity, exclude outsiders, or both. The word itself came about in the 18th century and has been defined in multiple ways since its conception.

Thesaurus Reference work that lists words grouped by similarity of meaning

A thesaurus or synonym dictionary is a reference work for finding synonyms and sometimes antonyms of words. They are often used by writers to help find the best word to express an idea:

...to find the word, or words, by which [an] idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed

Library catalog Register of bibliographic items

A library catalog is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations. A catalog for a group of libraries is also called a union catalog. A bibliographic item can be any information entity that is considered library material, or a group of library materials, or linked from the catalog as far as it is relevant to the catalog and to the users (patrons) of the library.

<i>Macquarie Dictionary</i> Dictionary of Australian English

The Macquarie Dictionary is a dictionary of Australian English. It is generally considered by universities and the legal profession to be the authoritative source on Australian English. It also pays considerable attention to New Zealand English. Originally it was a publishing project of Jacaranda Press, a Brisbane educational publisher, for which an editorial committee was formed, largely from the Linguistics department of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. It is now published by Macquarie Dictionary Publishers, an imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd. In October 2007 it moved its editorial office from Macquarie University to the University of Sydney, and later to the Pan Macmillan offices in the Sydney central business district.

Encyclopedism

Encyclopedism is an outlook that aims to include a wide range of knowledge in a single work. The term covers both encyclopedias themselves and related genres in which comprehensiveness is a notable feature. The word encyclopedia is a Latinization of the Greek enkýklios paideía, which means all-around education. The encyclopedia is "one of the few generalizing influences in a world of overspecialization. It serves to recall that knowledge has unity," according to Lewis Shore, editor of Collier's Encyclopedia. It should not be "a miscellany, but a concentration, a clarification, and a synthesis", according to British writer H.G. Wells

<i>Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences</i> UK 1728 encyclopedia

Cyclopædia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences is an encyclopedia prepared by Ephraim Chambers and first published in 1728; six more editions appeared between 1728 and 1751 with a Supplement in 1753. The Cyclopædia was one of the first general encyclopedias to be produced in English.

<i>Lexicon Technicum</i>

Lexicon Technicum: or, An Universal English Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Explaining not only the Terms of Art, but the Arts Themselves was in many respects the first alphabetical encyclopedia written in English. Although the emphasis of the Lexicon Technicum was on mathematical subjects, its contents go beyond what would be called science or technology today, in conformity with the broad eighteenth century understanding of the terms "arts" and "science," and it includes entries on the humanities and fine arts, notably on law, commerce, music, and heraldry. However, the Lexicon Technicum neglects theology, antiquity, biography, and poetry.

A faceted classification is a classification scheme used in organizing knowledge into a systematic order. A faceted classification uses semantic categories, either general or subject-specific, that are combined to create the full classification entry. Many library classification systems use a combination of a fixed, enumerative taxonomy of concepts with subordinate facets that further refine the topic.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to philosophy:

Science in the Age of Enlightenment

The history of science during the Age of Enlightenment traces developments in science and technology during the Age of Reason, when Enlightenment ideas and ideals were being disseminated across Europe and North America. Generally, the period spans from the final days of the 16th and 17th-century Scientific Revolution until roughly the 19th century, after the French Revolution (1789) and the Napoleonic era (1799–1815). The scientific revolution saw the creation of the first scientific societies, the rise of Copernicanism, and the displacement of Aristotelian natural philosophy and Galen's ancient medical doctrine. By the 18th century, scientific authority began to displace religious authority, and the disciplines of alchemy and astrology lost scientific credibility.

Chinese encyclopedia

Chinese encyclopedias comprise both Chinese-language encyclopedias and foreign-language ones about China or Chinese topics. There is a type of native Chinese reference work called leishu that is sometimes translated as "encyclopedia", but although these collections of quotations from classic texts are expansively "encyclopedic", a leishu is more accurately described as a "compendium" or "anthology". The long history of Chinese encyclopedias began with the Huanglanleishu and continues with online encyclopedias such as the Baike Encyclopedia.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to knowledge:

The Institute of Encyclopaedic Researchof the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is a Ukrainian state-supported academic research and publishing organization based in Kуiv, Ukraine. 50°26′39.54″N30°30′56.91″E

History of encyclopedias Aspect of history

Encyclopedias have progressed from the beginning of history in written form, through medieval and modern times in print, and most recently, displayed on computer and distributed via computer networks.

Encyclopaedistics or encyclopaedics as a discipline, is the academic scholarship of encyclopedias as sources of encyclopedic knowledge and cultural objects as well; in this sense, this discipline is also known as "encyclopaedia studies" and can be termed as "theoretical encyclopaediography" by analogy with theoretical lexicography. Encyclopaedistics as a practical activity also called "encyclopaedic practice" is the process of assembling encyclopaedias available to the public for sale or for free. In this sense, it is the art or craft of writing, compiling, and editing the paper or online encyclopedias. As a practical activity, encyclopaedistics originated in the Middle Ages in connection with the development of compendiums based on alphabetical structuring.

References

  1. Castro, Ana de. (2016). English. Hodder Education Group. ISBN   1-4718-6846-X. OCLC   953658381.