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Vietnam Launches Ambitious Encyclopedia Project

Vietnam has initiated its largest encyclopedia project yet, but several hurdles stand in the way.

The Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences recently organized a scientific conference to kickstart the country’s ambitious effort to compile a vast compendium of knowledge, according to VietnamNet.

It is expected that, within eight to 10 years, each of the encyclopedia’s 37 volumes will contain over 1,500 pages and will cover a range of disciplines, from social sciences and humanities to natural sciences, technology, security and defense. Readers will also be able to access the resource online. Some academics are considering a model similar to Wikipedia for the online version.  

However, academics present at the conference also expressed concern over the organization of entries and the possible overlapping of content across the 73 fields covered in the giant reference book. On this, Professor Nguyen Van Hieu, who is in charge of the Physics and Astronomy volume, called for close cooperation between participating academics across disciplines as well as with the editorial board.

What should be included in the encyclopedia was also up for debate. “As we are compiling an encyclopedia for the Vietnamese people, Vietnam-related knowledge will make up around 70% of the entries, while the rest is dedicated to world knowledge,” Professor Lai Van Hung, general secretary of the project, told Tuoi Tre. Others, such as Professor Ho Sy Quy, former director of the Institute of Social Science Information, deemed the clear-cut ratio to be too rigid.

An editorial handbook will be issued later this year to ensure smooth sailing for the project.

[Photo via List Challenges]

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