While reading a book over the weekend (Everything Is Miscellaneous, since you asked), I got to thinking about the best way to organize the Disneyland encyclopedia. (Recall that the encyclopedia is the first volume of the Disneyland Compendium, which will have other types of reference material.) Now, you may wonder why this is even a concern at all. Encyclopedias have only one order--alphabetical. Start with A Ticket, continue through Festival Mexico and Ralke Company, and end with Zorro Day. Nothing simpler, right?
Alphabetical ordering is essentially random. Sometimes things are grouped together that make sense, but just as often these proximate relationships don't mean anything. To take a few sequential terms from the thesaurus:
Chevron Hospitality Room
Chicago Railroad Fair
For the past couple of days I have contemplated organizing the encyclopedia conceptually, just as the thesaurus is. That is, you might find a linear organization pattern like this (very rough):
- Disneyland Park
-- Main Street, U.S.A.
--- Town Square
---- Opera House
--- Tomorrowland Entrance
--- Cicarama, U.S.A.
--- Circle-Vision 360
--- World Premiere Circle-Vision
--- Rocket Rods
--- Buzz Lightyear Astro-Blasters
There are a number of things to consider here, and paramount must be useability. I think if we do go a conceptual route (like that above or something else), we'd also have an alphabetical index of terms. We would need clear headers on each page, so you know where you are in the structure; together with that, we would need to provide conceptual outlines at the beginning of each chapter or section. The geographic section would be the longest, but there would be sections for other entities, like the organizational structure of the Resort, or types of entertainment events (and, of course, entries for the events themselves, like individual parades and shows).
We wouldn't necessarily escape alphabetization entirely. We would have to decide how to sort within each category. With a small land like Adventureland, is it worthwhile to try to group entries next to each other (like entries for the Tahitian Terrace and Aladdin's Oasis, then terms related to the Jungle Cruise, then the Indiana Jones Adventure, then the Swiss Family Treehouse and Tarzan's Treehouse) or would it look effectively random? (We would not be lumping Tahitian Terrace and Aladdin's Oasis together, just placing the entries next to each other.) Whatever we do, we want to make sure that readers can find what they're looking for. If we try out a conceptual structure and it hides the information, we may stick with alphabetization.
What do all of you think? I realize you may not be able to answer the question without a sample, but do you see any problems off the bat with such an organization? Do you love the alphabet so much that you wouldn't purchase a book which scorned it? What sort of encyclopedia organization would work best for you?