SKOKIE, IL, January 01, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Varda Books-which has in the past released a CD edition of The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, a thirteen-volume work originally published by T&T Clark almost a century ago under the editorship of James Hastings—has announced inclusion of the Encyclopedia in the online edition of the Judaic Digital Library's Basic Reference Collection, which is available for searching and reading by the general public at no charge.
As a standard work of reference, Encyclopedia has long been considered to be the most comprehensive in its class. Besides including articles on almost all practiced religions, ethical systems and movements, religious beliefs and customs, philosophical ideas, moral practices, as well as related subjects in anthropology, mythology, folklore, relevant areas of biology, psychology, economics and sociology, it also contains tens of thousands of names of persons and places connected with these subjects.
"...grand in vision and impressive in accomplishment, (it) represents a scholarly achievement of the first importance. Intended to provide an account of the various aspects of religion (beliefs, rituals, philosophies, theologies and ethics) among peoples the world over and in all ages, the encyclopedia became a reference work with no compeer for more than half a century.
Exemplary of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century interest in producing encyclopedic collections of knowledge in various fields, the encyclopedia became both a resource for reviewing the results of scholarship concerning the study of religion and an impetus for the extension of knowledge of peoples and cultures the world over, thus transcending the prior provincialism of much of Western scholarship, " writes Encyclopedia of Religion
Approaching the creation of an electronic edition of Encyclopedia, Varda Books has decided against the usual "database" approach to electronic publishing of such encyclopedias. Rather, the publisher has opted in to using a much more expensive means of providing the information that involves not only optical character recognition and encoding of the original text but also meticulous resetting of all twelve volumes to match it.
According to Alexander Gendler, Varda Books' publisher, the main reason for going this route was due to the use of dozens of non-English and special character fonts not easily found on computers of most potential users.
The Encyclopedia is available in two different formats: a familiar Adobe PDF (delivered on CD-ROM) and Varda Books' own SSIF format (Secure Searchable Image Format). The PDF version can be used when no Internet connection is available while the SSIF version is for online users. While each format has its own advantages and disadvantages, both formats have allowed Varda Books to embed special character fonts and absolve the users of a need to install these fonts on their computers.
This approach has also allowed users to look for simple word variations while performing searches and find them even when they are written using special characters. In addition, when users share passages that contain special character words via email, they do not have to worry about their recipients having special fonts.
Present in almost every library, Encyclopedia is a standard reference title used by many in the field of religion. Some larger libraries even have as many as 5 or 6 sets. Currently, its paper reprints sell for more than $2000. Now, in its new electronic format, this treasure of human knowledge has been made much more functional, accessible and affordable.
ABOUT VARDA BOOKS
Varda Books is a leading publisher of English digital Judaica. Among its published titles are the Judaic Scholar Digital Reference Library, JPS Digital Torah Library, Rabbinic Bookshelf, Hebrew Bible: Text and Commentary, Sepharad: the Essential Library, International Critical Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures: Tanakh, S.R. Driver - U. Cassuto Collection, War against Israel, The Jewish Encyclopedia, and many others.
These collections feature hundreds of Judaica titles licensed from other publishers and are made available under a variety of different access models.
Varda Books' eBooks have been carefully prepared to be authoritative and easy to use with these additional benefits:
• Books have been re-created from scratch to match their original printed edition page for page.
• Each has been supplied with a sophisticated navigation system.
• Table of Contents (TOC) in every book have been linked to relevant Chapter openings.
• Subject Index entries have been linked to their corresponding pages.
• Endnote references have been hyper-linked to endnotes and back.
• Books have been made searchable individually and collectively in a variety of ways.
• Printing and copy/pasting has been allowed (for personal use only).
• Books can be used on any computer with access to the Internet and from behind any firewall.
About Publisher's Row/Varda Books
Publisher's Row is an ebook publishing Web site specializing in Jewish titles. For more information, please contact us at 847.528.6589.
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