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A COMPENDIUM OF THE WORLD'S
FOR THE YEAR
FRANK MOORE COLBY, M.A.
SINCE the suspension of the International Year Books in 1902, and the discontinuance of Appleton's Annuals, there has been a constant demand for a volume containing a complete summary of the important events of each year. In England several publications of this kind have been published from year to year for more than a generation. Here we have at present nothing but the newspaper almanacs. While these contain valuable information, they fail altogether to cover the field. We also have various periodicals containing weekly and monthly summaries of current events, but they fail to supply connected narratives written after the events, such as is possible only in a yearly volume.
The New International, Year Book for 1907 will serve as an independent volume, recording the progress of the year in the various departments of Science, Art, Literature, Finance, Industry, Political History, etc., or as an effective supplement to any encyclopedia. To adapt
it to the latter purpose and to connect it with the former series of An Independent International Year Books, brief summaries covering the four years Book or a Supple- immediately preceding 1907 accompany the account of the year ment to any
proper. This reference to previous years should be an equal advantEncyclopædia
age to those who consult the work as a Year Book merely, in that it
serves as an explanatory introduction to the year 1907 itself. The volume is devoted mainly to the discussion of the events of 1907, and what pertains to previous years is stated brietly on an encyclopædic scale.
However comprehensive an encyclopædia may be, a Year Book of this nature is essential. Matters of current interest are necessarily treated on a smaller scale in an encyclopædia and many details are omitted. Indeed, an encyclopædia revised once a year would necessarily show
a lack of proportion. Recent events would be treated with more fullCurrent Events can ness than they deserved, owing to the difficulty of determining the ratio Best be Treated in a of their importance to the history of the subjects as a whole. Thus, Separate Volume if an account of the recent financial crisis in the United States were
appended to an article on Financial History, it would almost certainly be treated at undue length at the present time. At the same time, even when subjects are treated in too great detail for an encyclopædia, they cannot include anything approaching the complete discussion that would be possible and desirable in a Year Book. The dozen or more pages which may reasonably be devoted to the October ('risis in a Year Book, would shrink to one or two pages of encyclopædia text, and this would probably be further curtailed afterwards. An encyclopedia, in discussing a country's foreign trade, will show the progress by years, and will not go into an analysis, or even into a detailed account, of the trade for any single year. In a Year Book article, on the other hand, the trade movements of the year may be analyzed and described in detail. And this is true of a host of other subjects.
Considered merely as an independent volume, the present Year Book should be of service to all who need ready means of ascertaining the immediate antecedents of current topics. The obvious characteristic of current discussion in newspapers and magazines is that it does not
look back. It takes even the immediate past for granted or is unaware The Need
of it. We are a nation of magazine and newspaper readers and we
are often nonplussed through ignorance or forgetfulness of the facts Year Book
that preceded the issues of the moment. Weekly reviews and monthly
summaries try and sift out essentials, but these, too, are controlled by timeliness. In a year's perspective the proportions change. A Year Book serves in a measure as a cure for the short view of things. This is appreciated in other countries, where attempts are made in one way or another to put events on record in a form convenient to the general reader, or to the writer on current subjects. That a similar reference book is required in this country, is the firm conviction of the editors and publishers. There can be no question as to the merits of the plan, and if any arises as to its execution, we desire to say that all corrections of mistakes, or suggestions from readers of points in which the text may be improved, will be gratefully received and promptly acknowledged by the editors; for it is their hope that the annual series which this Year Book renews, will be of permanent usefulness, and it has been their experience on the New International Encyclopædia that the comments of alert and critical readers are in effect a valuable form of editorial co-operation, tending to the improvement of the text. The present Year Book is not a bare record of fact, but includes a summary of the discus
sion to which the events gave rise, and in debated questions recapituNot a Bare
lates the arguments on both sides. While the United States naturally Record of Facts receives more attention than any other one country, the volume is
truly international in character and includes comprehensive articles on all the leading countries of the world and on such minor divisions as deserve mention on account of recent events.