from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A manual ( Greek ἐγχειρίδιον encheiridion , “something that you hold in your hand”) is an orderly compilation of an excerpt from human knowledge in literature and can serve as a reference work . In labor law , manuals are part of the work and service instructions at companies or authorities . Smaller copies are called handbooks .

Word origin

The term encheiridion , which in classical Greek mainly referred to a short sword or a dagger, was in its primary meaning "manual" by Erasmus von Rotterdam's knight's manual Enchiridion militis Christiani ("sword" or "manual of the Christian soldier") from the Year 1503 known. The Latinized form is encheiridium (example Jean Riolan the Younger : Encheiridium anatomicum ... , 1648).


The arrangement of the knowledge material can be made chronologically or, above all, according to thematic aspects. Of particular importance is the systematic structure of the work, which is usually also provided separately as an overview in the form of a table of contents . Manuals often have one or more editors and numerous authors who are responsible for writing individual chapters . Often entire subject areas are presented - so a manual can also appear in several parts or volumes. These two aspects distinguish manuals from monographs , which also usually deal with much narrower subject areas. In professional circles, manuals are often cited with a short title (e.g. the Dehio manual , the LThK ).

In contrast to the dictionary , the material is presented in continuous prose . The mixture of both - alphabetical order and prose - is called a concise dictionary .

Work instructions

The manuals produced by companies or the public administration themselves contain internal job descriptions and the collection of legal norms that must be observed when performing tasks by the clerk . Detailed instructions for use are often referred to as anglicism ( English manual ) - as a (user) manual. This term can also be found in the field of software . Traditionally, UNIX manual pages describe the use of a program without going into the details of the implementation , so it is only part of the technical documentation . It is aimed primarily at the user as an aid . In particular on the WWW and with free software , it is customary to replace the software manual with an FAQ , i. H. a collection of frequently asked user questions to add to or even replace.

The rules and background volumes of role-playing games can also be called a manual . The rules can be viewed as instructions for use, while the descriptions of the game world can have the character of classic manuals through chronological or thematic arrangement of the knowledge.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Handbook  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations