Monday, October 1, 2012

Encyclopedias - In or Out?

In the "old" days, librarians did hefty research trying to decide which print encyclopedias to purchase. In 1979 there were 10 different, continuously revised print encyclopedias. In our library we had about 5 sets of print encyclopedias and we rotated updating a different set each year. By 1996 the conversion from print sets to online encyclopedias had begun and by 2006, 10 years later, only 3 general print encyclopedias were left. With Britannica announcing its print sets are no longer in production, the field has been reduced to 1: World Book. Booklist magazine tells us that "Clearly, in 2012, there is little point in doing an annual update of general print encyclopedias". World Book, however,  believes that digital sources may not always be accessible - too few computers in the library or media center, no computer at home, so they have decided to keep their print encyclopedias up-to-date and available.

We currently subscribe to Britannica online. Take a look at it under our Research Center. You'll find that ddigital encyclopedias have a live and interactive, engaging environment, with frequent updates. Britannica has 1,200 new or revised articles a month. You can also view Britannica in two versions - for adults or for kids.

When was the last time you used the print encyclopedia? Have you tried Britannica online? 


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