If you’re under the impression that encyclopedias and dictionaries in the West were always organized from A to Z, think again. We have chosen to classify knowledge in many ways, each reflecting the values of the age. Patrick Cox speaks with Judith Flanders, author of A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order about the centuries-long resistance to alphabetization, and why A to Z may now be here to stay.
Photo of a dictionary in the Boston Public Library by Trevor Pritchard via Creative Commons. Music in this episode by Circus Marcus, Jason Leonard, Alexander Boyes, Podington Bear, Die Minimalistin, Yan Terrien and Lobo Loco. Read more about Judith Flanders here. Read a transcript of the episode here.