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Content: General structure

Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential

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1. Sections

The fourth edition of this Encyclopedia is divided into three volumes:

The first 2 volumes together are organized into 6 main sections: Each of these main sections may be composed of several sub-sections: 2. Additional sub-sections

For reasons of space, the descriptive entries present in the 1991 edition have been omitted from Sections K, M and T. Section indexes have also been omitted from the present edition. In addition to the above sub-sections, in which descriptive entries may be located, each main section has has however two other sub-sections associated with it:

3. Entries and entry number

Entries anywhere in the Encyclopedia are identified by a six-digit code. For example the entry on "Crime" (denoted by PB0001) is located in Section P, in sub-section PB.

2. Classification of entries

Items within a sub-section are in most cases not grouped according to any classification scheme. This continues the policy adopted for the 1976 edition and is in accordance with that adopted for the Yearbook of International Organizations. Despite the strong arguments for classifying items, the fundamental reason for not doing so is that it avoids reinforcing the impression that such classification can be done in an unambiguous and satisfactory manner. One of the challenges of the times derives from the fact that there does not yet exist any classification scheme for the interdisciplinary, and often "fuzzy", topics characteristic of this Encyclopedia. What is therefore called for is a series of ongoing experiments with different classification schemes, some of which may eventually prove to be of value. To this end the data needs to be held in an arbitrary permanent order which facilitates such experiments without hindering the editorial tasks of maintaining the data on computer. This question is discussed in more detail in Method: classification policy. One such experiment in classifying the items in the world problems section by subject has been published annually in Global Action Networks (Volume 3 of the Yearbook of International Organizations).

5. Cross-references between entries

There are cross-references between entries within the principal sections. If present, these are listed at the end of each entry. In some cases there are also cross-references between entries in different sections. Generally there are two main groups of cross-references:

(a) Cross-references indicating some form of logical relationship between entries in a section:

(b) Cross-references indicating some form of functional relationship between entries in a section: In the case of world problems, a further distinction may be made in each case between a constructive and a destructive causal chain.

6. Bibliographic references

The entries of some sections may contain abridged bibliographic references. This is also the case with the Notes (explanatory material concerning each section. Full bibliographic details in such cases may be obtained from the bibliographies associated with each section.

7. Indexes

There is no single index covering all entries in the Encyclopedia. There are three types of indexing assistance available in Volumes 1 and 2:

(a) Volume indexes: There are separate indexes for Volume 1 and 2, each covering titles and keywords:

(b) Section indexes: Individual section indexes, included in the 1991 edition, have been omitted. The entries on Human Values (Section V) have been very considerably extended so that they can now be used as indexes to both world problems (Section P) and to human development (Section H).

(c) Cross-references: The very extensive cross-referencing described above is designed to be used as an indexing tool to navigate through the networks of entries within and between sections in the Encyclopedia.

8. Related international organizations

The number of international organizations makes it impractical to have a separate section on such bodies in this Encyclopedia, as was done for the 1976 edition. However the structure has been designed to interlink through Volume 3 with the 3-volume Yearbook of International Organizations through the system of cross-references. In the past entries on world problems (Section P) have been specifically cross-referenced from the subject volume of that Yearbook where they are classified with international organizations concerned with that subject area.

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