The president of Princeton University declares that for several decades we have given education that does not instruct and instruction that does not educate. Others tell us that because we read daily papers and magazines our minds become superficial, that our power to concentrate or memorize is weakened,—that we read so much of everything that we learn little of anything. As the habit of reading magazines and newspapers is constantly increasing, I think we must assume that it has come to stay. If we cannot check it, we can at least turn it to good advantage, systematize it, and discipline ourselves.

Among the subjects continually described in newspapers and magazines, and even on billboards and in street-car advertising, is the subject of hygiene. No greater service can be rendered the community than for those who are conducting discussions of health to teach people how to read correctly this mass of information regarding health, to separate misinformation from information, and to apply the lessons learned to personal and public hygiene. There is no better way of doing this than to teach a class or a child to clip out of magazines and newspapers all important references to health, and then to classify these under the subject-matter treated. A teacher, parent, or club leader might practice by using the classification of subjects outlined in the Contents of this book. It is surprising how rapidly one builds up a valuable collection serviceable for talks or papers, but more particularly for giving one a vital and intelligent interest in practical health topics.

Interested in comparing the emphasis placed on health topics in a three-cent paper having a small circulation with a penny paper having twenty times the circulation, I made during one week thirty-eight clippings from the three-cent paper and ninety-five from the penny paper. The high-priced paper had no editorial comment within the field of health, whereas the penny paper had three columns, in which were discussed among other things: The Economics of Bad Teeth; Need for Individual Efficiency; "Good Fellows" Lower Standard of Living by Neglecting their Families. The penny paper advertised fifty-two foods, garments, whiskies, patent medicines, or beautifiers urged upon health grounds. In the three-cent paper twenty-six out of thirty-eight items advertised food, clothing, patent medicine, or whisky. One issue of a monthly magazine devoted to woman's interests contained twenty-eight articles and editorials and fifty-five advertisements that concern health,—thirty-seven per cent of total reading matter and thirty-seven per cent of total advertisement.

Excellent discipline is afforded by this clipping work. It is astonishing how few men and women, even from our better colleges, know how to organize notes, clippings, or other data, so that they can be used a few weeks later. There is a satisfaction in seeing one's material grow, as is remembered by all of us, in making picture scrapbooks or collections of picture postal cards and stamps. "Collections" have generally failed for want of classification,—putting things of a kind together. Chronological arrangement is uninteresting because unprofitable. One never knows where to find a picture, or a stamp, or a health clipping. Clippings, like libraries, will be little used if not properly catalogued so that use is easy. If a health-clipping collection is attempted, there are four essentials: (1) arrangement by topic; (2) inclusion of advertisements; (3) inclusion of items from magazines; (4) cross references.

For classification, envelopes can be used or manila cards 10×12 inches. The teacher, parent, or advanced student will probably think the envelope most useful because most easily carried and filed,—most likely to be used. But clippings should be bound together in orderly appearance, or else it will be disagreeable working with them. Children, however, will like the pasting on sheets, which show clearly the growth of each topic. Envelopes or cards should not have clippings that deal with only one health topic. Unless a test is made to see how many health references there are in a given period, it should be made a rule not to clip any item that does not contain something new,—some addition to the knowledge already collected.

Advertisements will prove interesting and educative. When newspapers and magazines announce some new truth, the commercial motive of manufacturer or dealer sees profit in telling over and over again how certain goods will meet the new need. Children will soon notice that the worst advertisements appear in the papers that talk most of "popular rights," "justice," and "morality." They will be shocked to see that the popular papers accept money to tell falsehoods about fake cures. They will be pleased that the best monthly magazines contain no such advertisements. They will challenge paper or magazine, and thus will be enlisted while young in the fight against health advertisements that injure health.

To clip articles from magazines will seem almost irreverent at first. But the reverence for magazines and books is less valuable to education than the knowledge concealed in them. Except where families preserve all magazines, clippings will add greatly to their serviceability.

The art of cross-referencing is invaluable to the organized mind. The purpose of classifying one's information is not to show how much there is, but to answer questions quickly and to guide constructive thinking. A clipping that deals with alcoholism, patent medicine, and tuberculosis must be posted in three places, or cross-referenced; otherwise it will be used to answer but one question when it might answer three. If magazines may not be cut, it will be easy to record the fact of a useful article by writing the title, page, and date on the appropriate index card, or inclosing a slip so marked in the proper envelope.