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Business, Media, Opinion

Encyclopaedias > Better ornaments than Encarta

I must admit, I was a bit of a nerd growing up.

One of the things I loved doing was pulling out my Atlas to check out the world, (Did you know the capital of Guatemala is Guatemala City?) and I would pick one of the volumes of my World Book Encyclopaedia and randomly open it.

Those books were amazing, inside and out and beautifully bound in leather. They made a timeless decoration piece and on the odd occasion, a handy door stop.

If you had an encyclopaedia when you were younger, then it was either the World Book, or the older, Britannica.

Today, after 244 years, Britannica decided to stop publishing its 32 volume print edition.

As the print world moves online, so to is Britannica, which now generates 85 per cent of its revenue from digital sales.

It also recently launched digital versions of its encyclopaedias for tablet PCs.

But spare a thought for just how long the Britannica’s print masterpieces actually lasted.

It was first published in 1768.

The first mass digital encyclopaedia only lasted 16 years.

Remember Microsoft Encarta?

It was launched in 1993 and stopped production in 2009.

Its appeal was the ability to attach multimedia content.

But like the print versions, the fact that it was predominately on compact disk (remember them?), it suffered the same problem as Britannica; the inability to update information.

That’s where the internet comes in and why the likes of Britannica concentrated its efforts in the digital world.

Oh, and thanks Wikipedia for some of the above information. Even though Wikipedia is contributor based, it still has a place in this world.

Britannica is bound by its accuracy.

I’m now going to go back to Mum and Dad’s to collect my old World Book set, to display them in my apartment.

I’m pretty sure I threw out Microsoft Encarta last century.

MEMO>ricardo

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