How to Create My Own Encyclopedia

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With the Internet at your fingertips, an encyclopedia may seem unnecessary. You may, however, need to create your own collection of knowledge and information for a class assignment. This may include making an encyclopedia that goes along with a piece of literature, a historical treasure trove or a book about science concepts.

1 Define the Knowledge

Before you can gather the information that your encyclopedia will hold, you'll need to define what knowledge fits into your project. If you already have an assignment, start there. For example, your teacher may want you to create an encyclopedia of historical American figures from your class. Make a list of famous faces from either a specific time period or the most notable figures from all of U.S. history. Include explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and suffragist Susan B. Anthony. If you're creating a general encyclopedia of knowledge, ask yourself what you want to include. It's unlikely that you can include every piece of information you want. Focus on items that are meaningful or of use to you. List the information that you will include alphabetically.

2 Make a Template

Create a template. Use the same type of format for each entry. This will help you to organize the information uniformly. Write the name of the entry, a description, specific characteristics and examples and add pictures. For example, if you're creating a plant encyclopedia, write the scientific plant name, a description of what kind of plant it is, identifiable characteristics such as thorns or flowers and the commonly used names or varieties. At the bottom of the entry, add a photo or a drawing. If you're making an encyclopedia of a book that you're reading in class, start with each character's name. For specific characteristics, write each character's defining traits, job and role in the story. Add your own drawing of the character. If the book has been made into a movie, use a photo of the actor who plays the role.

3 Research the Information

Conduct research for each entry. This may mean paging through a textbook, re-reading a novel, looking online or going to the library. You'll need to find all of the information that matches your entry format. For example, if your art teacher asks you to create an encyclopedia of famous works of art, review your class text and art history books or visit the websites of art museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the National Gallery of Art. Some encyclopedias may include interview information. If you're including entries about people you know -- such as a family member or friend -- go to the source to get your facts.

4 Bind It Together

When all of your entries are complete, order them alphabetically. If you have multiple entries for each letter, make separate volumes for each -- such as an "A" book, a "B" book and so on. Alternatively, place the entries in order starting with the letter "A" or whatever letter is closest to it. Make a front and back cover out of card stock, poster board or cardboard. The cover and back should be slightly larger than the pages. Stack the encyclopedia together with the cover and back. Staple the left side. Use a piece of duct or book-binding tape to cover the staples. Place the spine of the book on the middle of a piece of tape and fold one side onto the front and the other onto the back. Write a title and your name on the front with markers.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.