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An encyclopedia is an alphabetically or thematically structured collection of contributions from all branches of an art, a technology, or some combination of these that provides a comprehensive treatment of the intended subject. Ideally, an encyclopedia should appeal to a broad range of readership, providing them with the equivalent of consulting an expert in a given domain.

It should serve as the first place of search by the specialist or the non-specialist looking for information on a subject related to their own expertise. Library and information scientists may use it as a preliminary reference for research into a specialist field. Managers and policy makers may refer to it in deciding the use of a particular technology or strategy. Alternatively, it could be used by practicing professionals searching for a specific detail, or students trying to gain an overview of the essentials of a subject. The EOLSS addresses the needs of all these readers.

Knowledge presented in its pages focuses on the principles and practices that have been shown to be of value in the evolution of sustainable life support systems.

See also: EOLSS Mission

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