This has been floating around for a while, but I’ve only managed to post about it now.
I was a little sad to read that they’re closing down Encyclopedia Britannica. The company is hanging around—they only make a fraction of their revenue from the encyclopedia anyway; I didn’t know this—but the actual Encyclopedia Britannica is soon to be a thing of the past. And that bums me out.
It’s not hard to understand the decision. Most people with access to the internet probably haven’t used a paper encyclopedia in years. I certainly haven’t. And even though I’m still not convinved that Wikipedia is more accurate than an actual paper encyclopedia, it can be updated and corrected far more quickly. (At least with a paper encyclopedia the chances are lower than an entry was written by some control freak with an autistically long attention span who sits around in his boxers in his parents’ basement. Perhaps not zero, but lower.) And it does contain entries of a variety that a print encyclopedia could never afford to address, such as facets of pop culture.
But still. Gosh. A world without Encyclopedia Britannica? End of an era, and all that.
There was a time when BE was the gold standard for reference works. I rarely ever had a chance to use it, because my public school libraries carried the much cheaper (and less comprehensive) World Book Encyclopedia. But it was always clear that World Book was the economy car while BE was the Cadillac. A part of me has never outgrown the desire to own a complete encyclopedia set. They’re neat. I don’t care if they’re antiquated now. They’re still neat.
And I’m sorry to see them gone.