After 244 years, Encyclopedia Britannica will cease production of its iconic multi-volume book sets.
Britannica usually prints a new set of the tomes every two years, but 2010's 32-volume set will be its last. Instead, the company will focus solely on its digital encyclopedia and education tools.
Encyclopedia Britannica: The end of its shelf life
Its current print run will be its last ever. John Walsh mourns the end of 244 years of bourgeois self-improvement
Encyclopaedia Britannica--get the name right, people--it's got an 'ae', was once like an old friend, its pages a smorgasbord of knowledge for an eager young child who liked, of all things, to read encyclopaedias cover to cover. I owned the World Book Encyclopedia when I was younger, thanks to a passing salesman--but it was Britannica that drew me to the library reference area.
I realise that a digital form can be much more current, but I still mourn the loss of the encyclopaedia in print. In an age where Google and Wikipedia really have revolutionised the finding of information, where you can look up anything from a smart phone, perhaps the volumes on the shelves seem out of touch. But they are still like old friends.
So here's a toast to 244 years of disseminating knowledge, of providing millions of school children with the information for their reports, and of updating us to the new and wondrous topics just around the corner.
Thanks to Dr John Jaeger for the first link, and for sharing the news with our LIBREF-L list.