Encyclopedia Britannica – They Had a Good Run
Well, after 244 years, just four years shy of the amount of time it takes for Pluto to complete a solar orbit, the Encyclopedia Britannica is calling it quits to the dead-tree print versions that have been placed on bookshelves in just about every library known to man. I guess the question of note is whether this is a good thing or not.
Sure, we are amassing more information today through digital and online means than we have ever before. And while Britannica will still live on as a digital version, one wonders if its end is an end to a way that many kids discovered the world around them.
Turns out, I grew up reading encyclopedias. I was rather bored with television for the most part, so I passed many hours with an encyclopedia in my lap, reading the articles and leapfrogging from one article to the next. From lightbulbs to Otto Lillienthal, Constitution to coral, Tchaikovsky to turtles (not the ninja ones either), I filled my mind with short articles of things, using the pre-cable version of the Discovery channel. I often miss those days, even though the encyclopedia that I read in my youth was a 1969 version – and I’m an 80′s child.
Yeah, I know the pragmatic reason for this move – we live in a world today where it only takes about one minute for a bit of news occurring in Belarus to be on the boards in Boston. A riot breaks out in Cairo and Chicago can get near real-time coverage of the event. But I kind of wonder if we’re losing something with all of this.
I’ve watched newspapers shrink and diminish into nothing because the news that I want to read is more readily available through an aggregation web site (which Germany for some obscure reason wants to tax) than it is through my local print paper. Interestingly, the paper boy tried to sell me a subscription to the paper based on the merits of all the circulars and coupons I could get. Yet, I told him that I can do better shopping online too. Sorry kid.
In any case, I’m not so overly sure why I felt the need to write this article, it’s not of the usual fare that we get around here at The Rabid Conservative, but I guess it just illustrates
More on the downside, Britannica won’t deliver a paper version of the article that details the end of Obama’s presidency. You know, I could read that article over and over and over again.
I guess I’ll just have to get that online too.
Stay rabid, my friends.