Encyclopedias are collections of articles and entries, which are usually sorted out alphabetically. The term "encyclopedia" derives from the Greek phrase "enkyklios paideia" which means "universal knowledge," and was considered a great skill to have in ancient Greece.
Educated and qualified experts research and creat encyclopedias, which makes the books highly trustworthy for any kind of research. The advantages of using an encyclopedia when searching for information are many.
Encyclopedia entries are longer and more detailed than those in most dictionaries. Unlike the dictionary, which focuses on language and words, encyclopedia articles focus on facts to describe and explain the thing or concept behind the name. Where the dictionary focuses on the meaning of a word, an encyclopedia will delve into the meaning behind the subject, which means encyclopedia articles are capable of going much deeper and capable of extracting a greater knowledge of the subject.
Knowledgeable and experienced scholars work together in order to research and organize error-free encyclopedias. Their aim is objectivity and neutrality in all topics covered throughout the book. The reliability of encyclopedias, compared to other sources of information, is assessed constantly, through statistics, regular reviewing and editing.
As a work of reference, the encyclopedia must have a systematic method of organization to allow the user to search effectively. Most encyclopedias use the alphabetical system, in which the order of the terms is given according to the first letter of the words that represent them. Other encyclopedias use a hierarchical system. A classification system in which entries are arranged in graded order. Both methods of organization ensure that the book's user will find any desired knowledge quickly and easily.
Readability and Format
The information in an encyclopedia will vary greatly in type and breadth of material, as well as discussion, depending on its target audience. The books, however, are never restricted to a certain age or ability. Also, the topics covered are explored in depth, and are often aided by illustrations, maps, graphs and photographs. This makes acquiring knowledge easy and more enjoyable. As far as the format is concerned, encyclopedias are not just restricted to book form anymore. They are currently published on CD-ROM and are now entirely available online.