What does an Encyclopedia do? 5 Important uses

The Encyclopedias Serve as a tool for documentary research, teaching and learning in multiple areas.

An encyclopedia is a record of the knowledge of humanity in the format of writings summarized with information of the various branches of this knowledge.

What does an Encyclopedia do?  5 Important uses

According to Unesco, it is a list of terms ordered alphabetically or systematically that tries to give the maximum information on exhaustive subjects.

The word encyclopedia with the current meaning, set of knowledge, appeared in the sixteenth century.

Compilations of sets of knowledge in encyclopaedic works were developed in the Middle Ages. But they were called summa, epeculum or imago mundi.

You may be interested What is Encyclopedism?

Uses of an encyclopedia

1- Academic and specialized research

For studies and homework it is normal for students to search for information in books, virtual or periodical references. Encyclopedias facilitate this work by containing detailed knowledge.

In addition, encyclopedias as written by several qualified authors contain reliable data and information.

Otherwise, this type of information could only be completed with the search for several books.

Therefore, the encyclopaedia becomes a practical and safe instrument in the study. They serve as reference and support.

In addition, encyclopedias, as well as many of the investigations they run in schools, have specialized but easy-to-understand themes and messages.

You may be interested How to Locate Information in an Encyclopedia?

2- Personal Inquiry

Today and since its inception, encyclopedias have been useful to expand knowledge on topics of interest.

These works were created in order to offer a compendium of universal knowledge that could illustrate the common man.

For this reason, it is still normal today to resort to encyclopedias to: satisfy a curiosity, to learn more about the world around us and to ask for deep information on general topics.

This type of search may respond to mere personal interests. Encyclopedias cover the knowledge needs of people. It can be used as a basic research step or as a deepening of a meaning.

3- Professional documentation

General encyclopedias provide an overview of a wide range of topics, while There are partial encyclopedias of specific topics.

Its function is to explain all aspects of a human category. For example, there are a specific culture, a historical period or a country.

There are professions that require their specialists to be kept up to date and looking for new information. Thematic encyclopedias are useful for them.

In many cases, each definition of an encyclopedia is accompanied by a brief bibliography .

This is convenient for those who wish to delve into and search for references to a very complex topic. Both in the academic and professional fields.

4- History and general culture

Dictionaries can be useful to know words and their meanings, p But when it comes to learning about a completely unknown subject, an encyclopedia is better.

In this difference lies the exhaustiveness of the content and its uses to expand the culture, rather than the vocabulary.

In addition, encyclopedias have become cultural symbols of learning and general culture. From its beginnings, it allowed its user to access all the knowledge of humanity. That is, t Ener a scientific, philosophical and artistic knowledge with which he could face the world.

5- To know pronunciations, common mistakes, etc.

Encyclopedias also have a list of terms that extend the use of reviews.

Errata faith, list of abbreviations, pronunciation and cross references are some of them.

These data vary and allow to know additional details to the meanings and concepts of each topic.


  1. The Thinker (May 20, 2016). What is the encyclopaedia? Bogotá: E-Cultura Group. Recovered from educacion.elpensante.com.
  2. Encyclopedia. National Library of Spain. Recovered from bne.es.
  3. Head, A. (2007) Beyond Google: How Do Students Conduct Academic Research? (How do students conduct academic research?). Retrieved from firstmonday.org.
  4. Jaschik, S. (2007). Inside Higher Ed: A Stand Against Wikipedia
  5. Retrieved from insidehighered.com.
  6. What is an encyclopedia? Recovered from misrespuestas.com.

Loading ..

Recent Posts

Loading ..