Encyclopedia of World Problems
1. Amount of information
This note reviews the changes made to the structure and content of the volume since the 1976 and 1986 editions, but especially the improvements made on the 1991 edition.
The 1976 edition was composed of 13 sections, interlinked by cross-references between items, both within a section and between sections. There was also a variety of introductory texts. Although this reflected the complexity of the material it made access to it more than necessarily difficult.
In the Encyclopedia the sections are positioned in an alphabetic order within each volume. The position is determined by the initial mnemonic letter code. This enables the significance of cross-reference and index entries to be more easily remembered and understood during use. In Volume 2, for example, the Human Development (Section H) appears before the Integrative Knowledge (Section K).
The fourth edition of this Encyclopedia is divided into three volumes:
1. Further research possibilities
The information in this publication is maintained in computer files as summarized in Section TZ. The project to date has been, and should continue to be, a data-collection and presentation exercise. The existence of an updated data base of this kind should also facilitate some types of research which have hitherto been almost impossible.
The first edition of this publication appeared in 1976 under the title Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential. It was produced as an experiment arising from a joint project initiated in 1972 between the Union of International Associations (UIA) and the group Mankind 2000.
A project of this kind evokes amongst some the response "Why bother, when we already know what ought to be done?" Who, after all, needs another book parading the range of problems with which the global community is confronted? Key people no longer have time to read more than one page summaries and each international body is acting as best it can to contain the problems to which it is sensitive.
This Encyclopedia is concerned with the management of information on key concepts and challenges of international significance. This information must necessarily take the form of words whose usage is confused by the conflicting patterns of associations that they evoke in practice for particular groups of users, whether official or otherwise. At its most concrete level, as a reference tool, the Encyclopedia clarifies the many descriptions of both world problems and understandings of human development.
The significance of each of the sections of this Encyclopedia is treated separately in the introduction at the beginning of each section and in the Notes at the end of each of them.
The significance of this publication as a whole can best be briefly illustrated by the following quotations which, taken together, indicate the importance of exploring the kind of approach attempted here.
1. Antiquated concepts and attitudes