Heads up on new anti-bushou dictionary (a tad like Harbaugh)

I just found this at China Books (Melbourne; www.chinabooks.com.au):

實用字素詞典 (英漢本) A Practical Dictionary of Chinese in Graphic Components, Chinese-English edition, 北京語言大學出版社 Beijing Yu3yan2 da4xue2 chu1ban3she4. (2000), ISBN 7-5619-0882-2. About 1000 pp. PRC price 55 RMB. The printing quality, binding and durable hardcover are all good; much better quality than most of my PRC-printed books, although the spine plasticizing is slightly wrinkled.

It’s similar to Harbaugh’s 中文字譜 Chinese Characters: A Geneaology and Dictionary, in that it focuses on letting you look up characters by their components, even if those components are not the 部首 bu4shou3. It is all in simplified char’s, so you won’t find 蘇 under 魚; instead, you must look for 苏, which is listed under 力, 八(for two dots), and 艹. Unlike Harbaugh, you do not get a family-tree-like chart along the left edge. Instead, the lookup is purely index-based. In the first index, you find the component by number of strokes. The index number then leads you to the entry for that component in the second index, where you look the character up by additional strokes. This three-step lookup process is slower than other methods, but enables you to find a graph if you don’t know its bushou. You’ll want to use contrasting colors of highlighters to ink the edges of the pages of the first two indices so you can flip to them easily. I do this in many of my books, and find it is extremely useful.

The entry for 苏 gives the traditional (蘇) in parens, pinyin pronunciation, part of speech, then bilingual definitions and examples, followed by compounds. I’d say the dictionary content itself is average, but given its reasonably portable size (15x21x4 cm) and the graphic component indexing, beginning to intermediate students may well want to check this one out.

The actual order of entries is by bushou. A pinyin index is added, as are various rear indices on the evolution of Chinese characters, names of the strokes, stroke order charts, simplified to traditional conversion charts, measure words, surnames, minority nationalities in China, country names, a table of elements, etc.