What is encyclopedia?
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What Does encyclopedia Mean
Originating from the Latin word encyclopaedĭa , the notion of encyclopedia refers to a body of knowledge . The most common use of the term refers to the work that collects information about a certain field of knowledge or general data.
In general, encyclopedias, which are intended to provide universal and objective knowledge , are made up of several volumes . The information is usually organized in alphabetical order or according to thematic divisions.
The first modern encyclopedias of universal scope were developed in the 18th century . One of the most famous is "L'Encyclopédie" directed by Jean le Rond d'Alembert and Denis Diderot , which was published between 1751 and 1772. It brings together more than 70,000 articles that seek to spread the knowledge generated through reason .
In its origins, the objective of the encyclopedias of the Contemporary Age was to facilitate orderly access to objective and reliable information, in an attempt to combat obscurantism through the transmission of scientific knowledge. The practice called obscurantism consists of preventing the dissemination of certain events and knowledge to the population.
Throughout history , obscurantism presented two well-defined features: it was used to restrict or oppose the dissemination of knowledge to the people; those who had access to the information "obscured" it so that it could not be appreciated in all its splendor, rendering it vague and imprecise.
Among the best known encyclopedias today are the Encyclopaedia Britannica (born 1768), the Encyclopaedia Larousse (1863) and the Encyclopaedia Espasa (1908). With the development of technology , many encyclopedias began to have digital editions, either on the Internet or distributed on CD-ROM .
Fully digital encyclopedias also emerged, without a paper version. One of the most comprehensive is Wikipedia , a website with some 45 million articles available in more than two hundred languages. This encyclopedia has the particularity of being collaborative: the users themselves are the ones who create and edit the content. Despite its undeniable popularity, Wikipedia does not always provide reliable information, precisely because of its collaborative nature.
Between 1993 and 2009, Microsoft Corporation published an encyclopedia in digital format called Encarta , which began with an English version and was only translated into Spanish in 1997. By 2008, the Spanish version had more than 43,000 articles, although the Anglo-Saxon number exceeded 62,000. In his time it was a revolution in the way in which computer users accessed articlesencyclopedic, since Encarta combined text with audio, image and video, in addition to various interactive elements, such as maps and timelines. While it took advantage of the overcrowding of the Internet, including links to external sites and regular updates to keep up, piracy and the rise of Wikipedia ended its popularity.
One of the theories about the origin of the encyclopedia points to the books published by Marco Terencio Varrón , a Roman military, civil servant and polygraph born in 116 BC. C. in the city of Rieti, Italy. This tells us that the encyclopedia is around two millennia old; In all this time, it has evolved in several aspects, such as its format, its extension and the language used for its writing.
The organization of the content of the encyclopedia is one of its fundamental aspects: if it were not divided into topics and each of its parts were not properly registered in an index, it would be extremely difficult to read it. Unlike what we can find in a dictionary, the length and depth of each encyclopedic article seeks to satisfy much of the reader's concerns rather than simply providing a short and superficial explanation.