The Macmillan Visual Desk Reference

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9780025313101: The Macmillan Visual Desk Reference

Designed to give quick access to the most widely sought information, this reference book presents a wealth of facts through diagrams, charts, illustrations, maps, timetables and other graphics in addition to text. "The Natural World" invites you to see how crystals grow, locate the earth's zoological regions, find chronologies of evolution and extinction, or notice the differences between major dog and cat breeds. "Science and Technology" shows you how kites fly and describes and illustrates electricity, magnetism, gravity and simple machines. "Communication" illustrates alphabets from Egyptian hieroglyphics to Assyrian cuneiform characters to Mayan glyphs, and depicts the symbl systems used in astronomy, weather forecasting, underwater communication and sign language. In "Religion and Philosophy" you can look up the twelve tribes of Israel, the deities and sacred texts of various religions, a floor plan of a mosque, the Hindu calendar and a diagram of the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.

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From Booklist:

Traditional encyclopedias with their alphabetical arrangement of information separate like things from each other; for example, Mars and Uranus, though both planets, would be far apart. This work, designed for general readers, arranges information in eight thematic chapters (e.g., "Sports," "The Arts," "Communications") covering 1,100 key topics. Things are explained visually with 4,000 charts, graphs, tables, and diagrams and with minimal text.

The red-and-black illustrations show how things work (e.g., simple machines) or the largest waterfalls or deepest caves. In the "Religion" section, several pages on Islam contain a time line of history, the plan of a mosque, prayer positions, a world distribution map, a calendar, and pictures of sacred objects. A few topics not amenable to illustration, such as literature, consist mostly of lists. Most sections contain glossaries and brief biographies.

Access is through a color-coded table of contents and three indexes: "Topic Finder," "Word Finder," and "People Finder," which indexes the more than 2,000 biographies. For example, a user wanting to find information on the alphabet would go to the "Word Finder" and be directed to entry 3136. This code, clearly explained at the beginning of the book, translates as follows:

The Macmillan Visual Dictionary [RBB D 1 92] helps readers find the name of an object when they know what it looks like. The Macmillan Visual Desk Reference, while also heavily dependent on pictures, also uses text to explain things. This attractive book is recommended for researchers, writers, students from middle school on up, and those who will enjoy browsing through it just for fun.

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