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T may,perhans, appear at first sight that an encyclopadia arranged in alphabetical order should I need 10 Index volume, more especially a work like the Eleventh Edition of theEncyc/ofiaza'ia
Bn'tuuica, which has replaced the comprehensive general, or “omnibus,” articles, so characteristic d the earlier editions, by a number of shorter articles easily consulted by the student. But it still emains true that to make the fullest and best use of the book an index of some kind is imperativelj needed. Since any encyclopaedia worthy of the.name must take all knowledge for its province, iis obvious that the world itself would scarcely contain the volumes which would hae to be written, were every person, place or thing treated in a separate loreover, the distribution of information over a number of short articles involves the To meet this need, as
Need for an Index. article. necessity i collecting it together again in a form convenient for reference. well as topoint the reader to information on other subjects, not themselves included among the 40,000 arcle headings of the Eleventh Edition, an Index has been compiled, which, though containingzonsiderably more than 500,000 headings, even so only aims at presenting a selection, not a miscllany, of information. If every name mentioned, however casually, in the Encyclopwa’zlz Britannimand every scrap of information had been indexed, the references would have filled a library. ldeed the Encyclaipzz’dia Britannica itself would have been rewritten, and not bettered in the protss.
The ditors of this Index believe that in the case of such a work as the Encyc/opa'dzh Brzl'annz'azhe value of the Index depends less upon exhaustiveness than upon intelligent selection and arrangment. There is no more potent cause of mental indigestion than a mass Prln¢lplg of of unsifted‘md often irrelevant detail. If economy of space is required in a reference ‘he ""1"book, therlis a still more urgent demand on the part of the inquirer for economy of effort. In the case of am one of the great figures of history, or the leading scientific theories, a reader does not want to b'referred to every passing allusion to Julius Caesar, or Napoleon, or Bismarck. The article on .ugustus says that he was born in the year of Cicero's consulship, but to record that fact in the Indt under the heading “ Cicero ” would be neither intelligent nor useful. Nor would the reader WlUV/IShCS to get a clear idea of the Darwinian theories be grateful to an index which referred hit (to every passage containing the word “ evolution."
In shct. the Concordance—index has been studiously avoided. The ideal has rather been to render easiy accessible all information of real importance in the book, and rigorously to exclude passing alusions to subjects which are more fully treated elsewhere To help the reader to find