Worlds of Reference by Tom McArthurWorlds of Reference by Tom McArthur

Worlds of Reference

byTom McArthur

Paperback | April 29, 1988

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Worlds of Reference is a history of dictionaries, encyclopedias and reference materials, but it is also far more than that, because it is concerned with the growth of civilisation, education and culture - and particularly how the human race learned to store information beyond the brain. It looks at how our species moved from being able to communicate only orally and to store information only in the head (rote memorisation) to the evolution of technologies for external reference: clay- and cunieform, reed-and-hieroglyph, bamboo-and-ideogram, parchment-and-alphabet, codices, books, pages, columns and so forth through the print revolution to the current electronic revolution. Along the way it looks at how this has affected languages like Latin, french, and English and people's attitudes to those languages - and to words and the listing of information about words. This intensely human subject is as compelling and important today as any account of kings, queens, wars and social upheaval.
Title:Worlds of ReferenceFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:244 pages, 9.72 × 6.85 × 0.51 inShipping dimensions:9.72 × 6.85 × 0.51 inPublished:April 29, 1988Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521314038

ISBN - 13:9780521314039


Table of Contents

Part I. Mind, word and world: 1. Knowing, referring and recording: storing information beyond the brain; 2. Information and World 3: in the beginning was the Word; Part II. The Ancient World: 3. Containers of knowledge: the first reference technologies; 4. Systems for knowledge: school and letter, book and library; 5. The taxonomic urge: class, classic and classification; 6. Missionaries and monasteries: reference and reverence; Part III. The Medieval World: 7. Faith versus reason: summations of truth; 8. The elites of knowledge: universitas; Part IV. The Early Modern World: 9. All knowledge for all men: the omne scibile and the printing press; 10. Theme versus alphabet: the roots of lexicography; 11. A blurring of languages: Latin and the vernaculars; Part V. The Modern World: 12. The legislative urge: authoritative wordbooks; 13. Reference and revolution: the encyclopedia proper; 14. Thematic lexicography: word order and world order; 15. Alphabetic lexicography: the unendable dictionary; 16. Universal education: dictionaries for the people; 17. Semantic fields and conceptual universes: the unshapeable lexis; 18. Tensions and trends: overt alphabet, covert theme; Part VI. Tomorrows World: 19. Shaping things to come: the priests of High Technology; 20. Knowledge, knowledge everywhere: planetary network, global book.