The Encyclopedia of World Biography (EWB) Index is designed to serve two purposes. First, it locates information on thousands of specific topics mentioned in the encyclopedia—persons, places, events, organizations, institutions, ideas, titles of works, inventions, and schools, styles, and movements in an art or a field of knowledge. Second, it classifies the subjects of EWB articles according to shared characteristics. Vocational categories are the most numerous—for example, Artists, Authors, Military leaders, Philosophers, Scientists, Statesmen. But there are other groupings, besides the vocational, bringing together disparate people who share a common characteristic—for example, Assassinations, Child prodigies, Immigrants.
The structure of the Index is quite simple. The biographical entries often provide enough information to meet immediate reference needs. Thus people mentioned in the Index are identified and their life dates, when known, are given. Because this is an index to a biographical encyclopedia, every reference includes the name of the article to which the reader is directed as well as the volume and page numbers. Below are a few points that will make the Index easy to use.
All main entries are set in boldface type. Entries that are also the titles of articles in EWB are set entirely in capitals; other main entries are set in initial capitals and lowercase letters. Where a main entry is followed by a great many references, these are organized by subentries in alphabetical sequence. In certain cases—for example, the names of countries for which there are many references—a special class of subentries, set in small capitals and preceded by boldface dots, is used to mark significant divisions.
The Index is alphabetized word by word. For example, all entries beginning with New as a separate word (New Jersey, New York) come before Newark. Commas in inverted entries are treated as full stops (Berlin; Berlin, congress of; Berlin, University of; Berlin Academy of Sciences). Other commas are ignored in filing. When file words are identical, persons come first and subsequent entries are alphabetized by their parenthetical qualifiers (such as book, city, painting).
Titled persons may be alphabetized by family name or by title. The more familiar form is used—for example, Disraeli, Benjamin rather than Wellesley, Arthur. Cross-references are provided from alternative forms and spellings of names. Identical names of the same nationality are filed chronologically.
Titles of books, plays, and poems, and of paintings and other works of art beginning with an article are filed on the following word (Bard, The). Titles beginning with a preposition are filed on the preposition (In Autumn). In subentries, however, prepositions are ignored; thus influenced by would precede the subentry in literature.
Literary characters are filed on the last name. Acronyms, such as UNESCO, are treated as single words. Abbreviations, such as Mr., Mrs., and St., are alphabetized as though they were spelled out.
Both see and see also references are used throughout the Index. The see references appear both as main entries and as subentries. The see also references appear as subentries. These provide access to information related to the subject of original interest. Cross-references to occupational categories omit the national qualifier. Thus, the reader interested in Spanish poets will be directed by the main entry Poets to Authors—poets, where she will find the subentry poets under Authors, Spanish.
This introduction to the Index is necessarily brief. The reader will soon find, however, that the Index provides ready reference to both highly specific subjects and broad areas of information. For quick reference or for conscientious study, the Index should be consulted first to make best use of EWB.