« AnteriorContinuar »
'The index being thus formed, the book is ready for taking down any thing that may be desired. In order to this, consider to what head the thing you would enter is most naturally referred, and under which you would be led to look for such a thing. In this head, or word, regard is had to the initial letter, and the first vowel that follows it; which are the characteristic letters whereon all the use of the index depends.
Suppose, for instance, I would enter down a passage that refers to the head Beauty. B is the initial letter, and e the first vowel. I look in the index for the partition B, and in that partition for the line e (which is the place for all words beginning with B, and whose first vowel is e), and finding no numbers already down to direct me to any page of the book where words of this characteristic have been entered, I turn forward to the first blank page, which, in a fresh book, as this is supposed to be, will be page 2, (that is, if one page only is occupied with the index) and there write what I have occasion for on the head Beauty; beginning the head in the margin, and indenting all the other subservient lines, that the head may stand out and show itself. This done, I enter the page where it is written, namely 2, in the index, in the space Be, from which time the class Be has the exclusive possession of the 2d and 3d pages, which are consigned to words of this characteristic.
Had I found any page or number already entered in the space Be, I must have turned to that page, and have written my matter in what room was left on it. Thus too, if, after entering the passage on Beauty, I should have occasion for Benevolence, or the like, finding page 2 already possessed of the space of this characteristic, I begin the passage on Benevolence in the remainder of the page, and if that will not contain the whole, I carry it on to page 3, which is also for Be, and add the figure 3 in the index.
Or, as it may happen in a book which has been some time in use, when the page allotted
to a certain class of words is full, and the following page is occupied also, it will then be necessary to go to the first blank page, the number of which must be marked at the foot of that of which it is a continuation.
To quotations from-books, Mr. Locke recommends the addition not only of the page on which the passage transcribed stands, but also the number of pages contained in the volume, thus,
the upper number indicating the page containing the passage quoted, and the lower the total number of pages in the volume. By this method, not only the edition of the book is known, but the reader may, by the rule of three, find the passage in any other edition, by looking at the number of the pages.
Account of a Particular Method (invented and prac.
tised by the Author) for reading, studying, and analysing scientific and historical Works, with a View to the saving of Time in reading and study.
It would be, in my opinion, of great advantage for the instruction of youth, to prepare for their use analytical tables of the various branches of human knowledge, arranged according to the
principal characters which seem calculated to distinguish them with most precision. This general analysis of the sciences ought to present in detail for each of them :
1. The general divisions and the particular subdivisions of which each science is composed, so as to afford a clear, accurate, and complete notion of the principal objects which it embraces, and of its aim;
2. The infinitely complicated relations which subsist between the sciences, and connect them, more or less, immediately with one another ;
3. A catalogue, compiled with judgment, of the best works written on each branch of the sciences, accompanied by an analysis of their contents, and critical remarks, from which an opinion may be formed of the species of merit and utility possessed by each.
Every person of studious habits may make trial of this or a similar method with regard to the science which constitutes his favourite pursuit.
Till I can myself carry this plan into execution in a large work, for which I have collected a great quantity of materials, I shall here introduce an account of a particular method for reading and analysing works written on the different departments of the sciences or on history. This
method, which is not merely theoretical, but the advantages of which are demonstrated by long practical experience, is essentially connected with the subject of the preceding Essay, since it is designed to save time in reading and study.
It is adviseable to study the sciences and history in particular with specific views. It will be found of great advantage to determine beforehand the points with an especial reference to which we propose to read scientific and historical works, and to make extracts from or analyses of them. I shall therefore mark out here, in a general manner, the course which may be pursued, and which is susceptible of numberless modifications, and various kinds of improvements; for it should not be the same for those who have different aims. He who travels and reads as a naturalist will not make the same collections and researches as another who travels as a painter or a lover of the fine arts, or as a lawyer, and with the intention of acquainting himself with the jurisprudence, manners, and customs of the country which he visits, or whose annals he is consulting
A young man who studies, and wishes to make