Topic: Reference works
Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. They have been kept from antiquity, and were kept particularly during the Renaissance and in the nineteenth century. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts. Each one is unique to its creator's particular interests but they almost always include passages found in other texts, sometimes accompanied by the compiler's responses. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.
"Commonplace" is a translation of the Latin term locus communis (from Greek tópos koinós, see literary topos) which means "a general or common topic", such as a statement of proverbial wisdom. In this original sense, commonplace books were collections of such sayings, such as John Milton's example. Scholars now understand them to include manuscripts in which an individual collects material which have a common theme, such as ethics, or exploring several themes in one volume. Commonplace books are private collections of information, but they are not diaries or travelogues.
In 1685 the English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke wrote a treatise in French on commonplace books, translated into English in 1706 as A New Method of Making Common-Place-Books, "in which techniques for entering proverbs, quotations, ideas, speeches were formulated. Locke gave specific advice on how to arrange material by subject and category, using such key topics as love, politics, or religion. Commonplace books, it must be stressed, are not journals, which are chronological and introspective."
By the early eighteenth century they had become an information management device in which a note-taker stored quotations, observations and definitions. They were used in private households to collate ethical or informative texts, sometimes alongside recipes or medical formulae. For women, who were excluded from formal higher education, the commonplace book could be a repository of intellectual references. The gentlewoman Elizabeth Lyttelton kept one from the 1670s to 1713 and a typical example was published by Mrs Anna Jameson in 1855, including headings such as Ethical Fragments; Theological; Literature and Art. Commonplace books were used by scientists and other thinkers in the same way that a database might now be used: Carl Linnaeus, for instance, used commonplacing techniques to invent and arrange the nomenclature of his Systema Naturae (which is the basis for the system used by scientists today). The commonplace book was often a lifelong habit: for example the English-Australian artist Georgina McCrae kept a commonplace book from 1828-1865.
- "Commonplace Book" | 2010-11-09 | 15 Upvotes 3 Comments
Microsoft Encarta was a digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation from 1993 to 2009. Originally sold on CD-ROM or DVD, it was also later available on the World Wide Web via an annual subscription – although later many articles could also be viewed free online with advertisements. By 2008, the complete English version, Encarta Premium, consisted of more than 62,000 articles, numerous photos and illustrations, music clips, videos, interactive content, timelines, maps, atlases and homework tools.
Microsoft published similar encyclopedias under the Encarta trademark in various languages, including German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese. Localized versions contained contents licensed from national sources and more or less content than the full English version. For example, the Dutch version had content from the Dutch Winkler Prins encyclopedia.
In March 2009, Microsoft announced it was discontinuing both the Encarta disc and online versions. The MSN Encarta site was closed on October 31, 2009, in all countries except Japan, where it was closed on December 31, 2009. Microsoft continued to operate the Encarta online dictionary until 2011.
- "All editions of Encarta are being discontinued (read about it on Wikipedia)" | 2009-03-30 | 15 Upvotes 3 Comments
The Jargon File is a glossary and usage dictionary of slang used by computer programmers. The original Jargon File was a collection of terms from technical cultures such as the MIT AI Lab, the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL) and others of the old ARPANET AI/LISP/PDP-10 communities, including Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Carnegie Mellon University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. It was published in paperback form in 1983 as The Hacker's Dictionary (edited by Guy Steele), revised in 1991 as The New Hacker's Dictionary (ed. Eric S. Raymond; third edition published 1996).
The concept of the file began with the Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) that came out of early PDP-1 and TX-0 hackers in the 1950s, where the term hacker emerged and the ethic, philosophies and some of the nomenclature emerged.
The Mundaneum was an institution which aimed to gather together all the world's knowledge and classify it according to a system developed called the Universal Decimal Classification. It was developed at the turn of the 20th century by Belgian lawyers Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine. The Mundaneum has been identified as a milestone in the history of data collection and management, and (somewhat more tenuously) as a precursor to the Internet.
In the 21st century, the Mundaneum is a non-profit organisation based in Mons, Belgium that runs an exhibition space, website and archive which celebrate the legacy of the original Mundaneum.
The New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) is a single-volume dictionary of American English compiled by American editors at the Oxford University Press.
NOAD is based upon the New Oxford Dictionary of English (NODE), published in the United Kingdom in 1998, although with substantial editing, additional entries, and the inclusion of illustrations. It is based on a corpus linguistics analysis of Oxford's 200 million word database of contemporary American English.
NOAD includes a diacritical respelling scheme to convey pronunciations, as opposed to the Gimson phonemic IPA system that is used in NODE.
- "Esquivalience" | 2013-04-15 | 96 Upvotes 25 Comments