Worlds of Reference

74.00 BBD

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.