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T IS a large task to select out of the world's knowledge all that is most interesting,

illuminating and useful, and present it in an orderly manner so that it can be com

prehended, enjoyed and utilized alike by young and old. I feel that this task has been well accomplished in THE WORLD Book. My confidence in the value and serviceableness of these volumes steadily increased as the work of preparation progressed. No one could observe without admiration and enthusiasm the building of THE WORLD Book, which has required the organization and attractive presentation in story and picture of the important truths in every department of human interest, achievement and investigation. Many minds and hands, and I think I may say many hearts also, have coöperated in the making of these books, and each has done his special work faithfully and enthusiastically, because he has felt the spirit and purpose behind THE WORLD BOOK,- so to present all important knowledge that it will make a strong appeal to every normal person and become a comfort and guide to him in his daily life.

Men and women of these times have the same sort of problems that people had centuries ago. But earlier peoples had to solve their problems largely by trial and error. They did not have access to the wisdom of the past as a guide for the present. People to-day, though, may profit by all the experiences of those who have gone before us, and in The World Book these experiences are described and their outcome portrayed. Particular attention has been given to modern developments in the sciences that deal with human welfare, and with human nature in its physical, mental, social, economic, political, ethical and moral aspects. The stories are told in a simple, straightforward way, the purpose being to make all truth of whatever sort intelligible and attractive.

It is more important to-day than it ever has been to conserve the time and energy of young people in school. Knowledge is accumulating rapidly; there is much more to learn now than there was a few decades ago. Upon teachers and parents rests the responsibility of guiding the young so that they will master all really vital knowledge readily and without waste. In the preparation of THE WORLD Book the needs of those who instruct youth have been kept constantly in view. Every subject of instruction in the elementary and high schools is discussed herein. The story of each branch is presented in the proper place, and it is shown how it has been developed, what rôle it plays in human life, what its value in modern education is, and how each topic can best be presented so as to enlist the interest of the learner, and so that it will remain with him and be assimilated into his thought and conduct.

For the benefit of parents, teachers, and all who would keep in touch with the development of education there are articles on many special subjects, such as the measurement of the intelligence of children, the use of standards and scales in determining progress in educational work, the use of museums as an aid in making teaching concrete, the development of coöperative work among teachers and parents, the extension of the principles of the Montessori system to general education, the principles underlying the Gary educational system, and so on.

As a rule encyclopedias are apt to be quite formal and technical. A faithful effort has been made in THE WORLD Book to avoid this common defect. Every-day, simple language is used, and technical terms are employed very sparingly. Whenever they are utilized, the context and illustrations will enable the reader readily to comprehend them. All articles have been scrutinized by the editors for the purpose of securing clearness. Every writer has had it impressed upon him that each sentence should be so constructed that the reader will not have to go over any part of it a second time in order to grasp its meaning.

It was decided when the plans were being prepared for THE WORLD Book that it should be abundantly and effectively illustrated. This decision has been carried out fully. Over five thousand pictures appear in these volumes. Topics in any department which could not well be illustrated by photographs are made clear by diagrams and sketches which show all significant facts of structure, function and relation. Pictures illustrating historical events are given in plenty. Animal and plant life are richly illustrated with photographs and designs showing structure, function, and adaptation to environment. Every geographical topic is made concrete by the use of maps and photographic illustrations of physiographic and political conditions. Ancient and modern architecture is pictured so that the reader can hardly fail to get the essential characteristics of any style, and there are reproductions of renowned works of art. All pictures, maps, reproductions, and illustrations of every kind were made especially for THE WORLD Book by artists working in connection with the editors.

It is essential, of course, that every topic in an encyclopedia should be treated accurately and authoritatively. In order to insure accuracy as well as timeliness in this work, the editors were assisted by a large staff of specialists in every department of learning and achievement. All important articles have been contributed or reviewed by these authorities. No topic has been allowed to escape careful scrutiny, to the end that no error of fact might be permitted to enter into this work.

In order to assist the reader, all long articles have been presented under subheads. The chief points in each of these articles can thus be quickly grasped. In many of the articles an outline of points is presented for the guidance of the teacher, the parent and the pupil, and review and original questions are given upon the contents of these articles. Extensive use has been made of cross references and lists of related topics, so that the reader in the study of any subject can quickly turn to all the articles that relate in any way to it. Generous use has been made also of departmental and general indexes which will enable the reader to locate any subject in which he is interested without loss of time or energy. The correct pronunciation of all unusual or difficult terms is given.

Special mention should be made of the exceptionally valuable services of the editor, Mr. Ellsworth D, Foster. The completion of THE WORLD BOok would have been impossible without his varied and extensive knowledge, his organizing skill and his devotion.


January, 1917.

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