is a concise, yet comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...
. A compendium may summarize a larger work. In most cases the body of knowledge will concern some delimited field of human interest or endeavour (for example, hydrogeology
Hydrogeology is the area of geology that deals with the distribution and movement of groundwater in the soil and rocks of the Earth's crust, . The term geohydrology is often used interchangeably...
Logology is the study of recreational linguistics, an activity that encompasses a wide variety of word games and wordplay emphasizing letter patterns...
Ichthyology is the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish. This includes skeletal fish , cartilaginous fish , and jawless fish...
Phytosociology is the branch of science which deals with plant communities, their composition and development, and the relationships between the species within them. A phytosociological system is a system for classifying these communities...
, or myrmecology
Myrmecology is the scientific study of ants, a branch of entomology. Some early myrmecologists considered ant society as the ideal form of society and sought to find solutions to human problems by studying them. Ants continue to be a model of choice for the study of questions on the evolution of...
), while a "universal" encyclopedia
An encyclopedia is a type of reference work, a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge....
can be referred to as a compendium of all human knowledge
. It could also be referred to as a tome.
The word compendium arrives from the Latin word "compenso", meaning "to weigh together or balance".
The 21st century has seen the rise of democratized, online compendia in various fields.
An example would be the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
, a concise 598-question-and-answer book which summarises the teachings of the Catholic Faith and Morals.
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...
is another example of a compendium - a group of many writings of the prophets and apostles over a space of time, whose books are put together to form the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The bestiary, popular in the middle ages, is another example of a compendium. Bestiaries cataloged animals and facts about natural history and were particularly popular in England and France around the 12th century.