Origin of reference books, Humanities

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Origin of Reference Books

A reference book is one which is designed by its arrangement and treatment to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be read consecutively. For instance, one looks up a dictionary only to find out the meanings of the words and not for continuous reading. A reference book thus is a book published primarily for consultation rather than for continuous reading.

We can trace the origin of reference books to man's early attempts to record thoughts, concepts, ideas and events. When man first sketched the outlines of animals, he hunted, on the walls of the caves where he lived, we can say that the rudimentary form of reference books had begun. This is because these sketches were utilized by him to refresh his memory. Later on, man after he learnt to read and write began recording his thoughts on the clay tablets, tamrapatra (copper plates), cloth and leaves. Some of these are still found in many archives and museums.


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