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The EOLSS is designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of users - from the merely curious to those seeking in-depth knowledge. To satisfy these, the EOLSS Contents have the following characteristics:  

    Popular appeal - by providing widely understandable perspective presentations.
    Educational relevance - through presentations that emphasize knowledge principles, or fundamentals, and their applications.

    Professional utility - through descriptions of knowledge practices and their applications.

    Research relevance - through presentation of knowledge principles that are of general value to specialists who wish to undertake study in related subjects.

    Future and policy orientation - through provision of knowledge perspectives that are useful for obtaining forecasts of trends in science, technology, and social programs.

There are five major target audiences for the EOLSS:

    University/College students (undergraduates and graduates) who wish to introduce themselves to a particular subject in the life support systems either by self-study or formal lecture participation.
    Educators interested in the subject areas of the EOLSS and who wish to prepare a comprehensive coverage of these subjects for lecture and seminar presentations.

    Professional practitioners and informed specialists who wish to refresh and update their knowledge, and to relate their knowledge to applications and subjects transcending their own specialization.

    Research personnel who wish to inform themselves about innovations and new approaches to problem solving.

    Policy analysts, managers, and decision makers in the public and private sectors, including development officials and non-governmental organizations, who wish to equip themselves with the technical and systems management knowledge required to incorporate science and technology in their decision-making.

The EOLSS is intended to be the literary equivalent of an expert advisor, a sophisticated expert system, which can be used to summarize the state-of-the-art in subject domains, identify formal knowledge principles, relevant knowledge practices and likely future perspectives, and suggest additional sources of relevant material. In this way, the EOLSS may be regarded as a source of carefully organized knowledge and not just a provider of raw information and data.

See also: Global Crisis and Sustainable Development: The Inspiration For The EOLSS

See also:EOLSS Study Guide

See also: Outlines of the Component Encyclopedias

See also:Sample Chapters

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