The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Science (The Facts on File Science Library)

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9780816040087: The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Science (The Facts on File Science Library)

Explores the world of science with profiles of important scientists, news of great discoveries, articles on contemporary issues, and explanations of key terms and concepts.

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From Booklist:

This new work is intended to be a general interest encyclopedia covering all of the sciences. It provides a single alphabetical listing of more than 10,000 entries covering all fields from astronomy to medicine to psychology to zoology. All entries are very short and read more like dictionary definitions than encyclopedia articles. Because of their brevity, the entries only superficially cover each topic. Readers who want more in-depth coverage will need to turn to other works, such as the Gale Encyclopedia of Science [RBB O 1 96] or the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 8th edition [RBB S 15 97]. Forty-six longer feature articles are also included, covering a variety of hot topics such as AIDS, El Nino, and environmental disasters. However, even these feature articles are less than one page in length, providing only the most basic scientific information. Biographies of 200 famous scientists are also included within the alphabetical sequence.

The volume is heavily illustrated, with at least one photo, diagram, or sidebar on every page. The illustrations enhance the text and are one of the most useful components of the overall work. The introduction claims that the work was written so as not to be boring, which is borne out by several of the longer entries. For example, almost one-half of the feature article on the Hale-Bopp comet discusses the Heaven's Gate cult suicide, which makes for interesting reading but has little to do with science. Some entries include cross-references to Web sites, most of which are still valid. Appendixes provide lists of Nobel Prize winners, inventions, and scientific units of measurement.

This work is very similar to The International Encyclopedia of Science and Technology [RBB Je 99] from Oxford. Both encyclopedias are written for the nonspecialist and both provide very brief information on topics in all of the sciences, although entries in Facts On File are generally somewhat longer. Interestingly, the American publisher (Facts On File) has produced a work with a definite British bias, using British spellings and examples, whereas the British publisher (Oxford) uses American spellings and examples. Both works provide the same subject coverage and both are well illustrated, although only Oxford uses color. The Oxford work is one-half the size (one volume and 6,500 entries) and one-half the price. Neither work can compare with the quality of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology or the Van Nostrand Scientific Encyclopedia, 8th edition [RBB My 1 95], both of which provide greater subject coverage (although at a much higher price). Libraries that rely on those standard sources may not need another science encyclopedia. For libraries that do want to purchase a brief general-interest science encyclopedia, the Oxford work is recommended because it is written in American English, concentrates more on science, and is less expensive.

From Library Journal:

Published in Great Britain as the Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Science, this work is designed for fun as well as function. As is usual for a two-volume encyclopedia, it is more like a concise encyclopedia or expanded dictionary, with most definitions just a few sentences and longer ones running to several paragraphs. Over 10,000 terms are defined from all areas of the sciences, including medicine and the applied sciences. A series of feature essays gives more depth to certain topics, ranging from the millennium bug to miners' safety lamps, though most are items of current news interest. The work is remarkably current, with many up-to-date entries (e.g., "FAQ" and "browser"); photographs and diagrams enhance the text. A variety of insertions designed to make science more palatable to the amateur or learner are scattered through the text: mnemonic devices for remembering equations and lists, pithy quotations from scientists, "fascinating" facts, and Internet URLs. (These web addresses may present cause for concern, since no attempt seems to have been made to select sites based on long-term stability.) Other enhancements are more typical of science encyclopedias, such as appendixes with SI units, the Greek alphabet, and tables of Nobel Prize winners. Chronologies are included for all major disciplines to put events in context. Since this is a concise work, no index is included. Recommended for school and public libraries. [See also The International Encyclopedia of Science and Technology and The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Society, both LJ 4/1/99.AEd.]AWade Lee, Univ. of Toledo Libs., O.
-AWade Lee, Univ. of Toledo Libs., OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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