Page 105 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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volume outline of knowledge; then there are ten volumes of
“Micropedia,” described as “Ready Reference and Index,” fol­
lowed by nineteen volumes of “Macropedia” with the words
“Knowledge in Depth” on the spine (a pretentious cliche which
makes one reader suspicious). Th is responds to a new concep­
tion of encyclopedia design. “Macropedia,” the main section of
the encyclopedia, is intended for “broad titles pitched at a high
level of generality” (to quote a writer in the
New York Times
Review of B ook s) .
“Micropedia,” in addition to acting as a
ready reference work “also serves as a convenient and necessary
dump for the shorter pieces (none over 750 words), the inclu­
sion of which would obscure the thrust and in ten t of the main
body of the work.”
The vision of the architects was doubtless splendid, b u t the
outcome loses in convenience. Why shorter articles could not
have been placed in the same set of volumes as longer articles,
and why longer articles could not have begun with a synopsis
and cross references is difficult to see. People use encyclopedias
for ease in acquiring information, not to read from cover to
cover or to be elevated by a grand over-all design.
T o re tu rn to the specific case of “Anti-Semitism” : I t is de­
moted from its place in the main encyclopedia, and the eleven
page article of an earlier edition becomes the subject of a “Mic­
ropedia” article of the 750 word variety, to which are added
fourteen cross references to various articles in “Macropedia.”
Most of these are incidental references only, and one is left with
a slight feeling of irritation at having incurred the labor of
hun ting them up as well as the suspicion that, on this subject
at any rate, one is not being furnished with a tool for acquiring
“Knowledge in Depth.” Nor is it always obvious how to go
about acquiring information on points of detail. For example,
to find out the number of Jews in the United States in previous
editions one simply looked up the article “Jews.” In the new
edition it is not given in “Micropedia.” I t is not in any of the
“Macropedia” articles which have the word “Jewish” in their
titles. I t is not in the article “Judaism.” I t can be dug out from
the article “Judaism, History of.” T h a t is hardly the place to