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1.1 Limitations of Printed Text

There are a lot of limitations imposed by the printed versions of reference books. These include [Cook, 1988]:

  1. Even though some of the reference books run into many volumes, the amount of information that can be stored is still limited compared to electronic forms of storage. It is also difficult to search through large volumes of printed material.
  2. They cannot be updated periodically.
  3. Information search is predominantly lexical – the table of contents and the index provide the facility to jump to topics but the amount of cross-referencing is minimal. The printed index is limited by the size and selection criteria of the authors and does not always direct the user to all relevant information.
  4. Information cannot be dynamically re-arranged to suit the individual needs of various kinds of users.
  5. Information is spread over a number of volumes and after some time information retrieval becomes tedious.