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How to Use the Encyclopedia

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History

How to Use the Encyclopedia

A typical article has three parts: the narrative, end references, and bibliography. To guide readers from one article to related discussions elsewhere in the encyclopedia, end references appear right after the narrative. In addition, there are cross-references within the body of a few articles. A selective bibliography at the end of an article directs the reader who wishes to pursue a topic in greater detail to the most important scholarly works in any language plus the most useful works in English. Within the encyclopedia’s main alphabetical listing, blind entries direct the user from an alternate form of an entry term to the appropriate article. For example, the blind entry “Admiral’s Cup” tells the reader to see “Yachting and Pleasure Sailing.” This example underscores the point that an encyclopedia such as this is very different in conception from a dictionary. While a dictionary is a comprehensive collection of entries on specific topics, an encyclopedia entry subsumes broad areas of such specifics and attempts to provide a broad analytical that links them in a broad summary of current scholarly understanding.