User:Minor Contributer/Encyclopaedia Britannica

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Encyclopædia Britannica
Spine of Americanized Encyclopaedia Britannica.jpg Americanized Encyclopædia Britannica title page.jpg
Eleventh Edition title page
Author4,411 named contributors; editorial staff
CountryUnited Kingdom (1768-1900)
USA (1901-present)
LanguageEnglish
SubjectGeneral
Genreencyclopedia
PublisherEncyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Publication date
1768–present
Media type32 volumes
ISBNISBN 1593392923 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.

The Encyclopædia Britannica is a very big, famous encyclopaedia. It is written in English, and is published by Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., a private company. It was originally only printed on paper, but recently it has expanded to have digital, or computer versions as well. The encyclopedia is split into many books. The articles in it are arranged by alphabetical order. There have been versions of it that are for children as well. It is the largest encyclopedia that is printed, and the second largest encyclopedia. The largest is Wikipedia. Many people consider it to be the best encyclopedia[1][2], because it is accurate and has lots of detail.

The Encyclopedia was once very small, the first edition only had 3 books, but slowly, it became bigger. The latest edition, the 15th edition, now has 29 books in it, plus 2 indexes. It even includes an extra book called Propaedia, to classify knowledge. The 29 books and made up of a Macropaedia and a Micropaedia. The Macropaedia is a larger one, with more detailed articles that can be as long as 300 pages, made up of 17 books, while the Micropaedia is the smaller one with shorter articles that are usually less than 750 words. The Micropaedia is used for fast-checking, but if you want more detailed information you have to use the Macropaedia. Each book is very big, more than 1000 pages per book. There are books of the year, every year, a book is published about the year.

The articles in the Britannica are for educated adults, not for children, and written by about 100 full-time editors and over 4,000 expert contributors. Many people think it is the best encyclopedia , but Wikipedia is still more popular, being free to use. The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia now. It was first published between 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland and grew very popular, with its third edition in 1801 comprising of 21 books.

The size of the Britannica is almost the same over the past 70 years, with about 40 million words on half a million topics. The encyclopedia was once owned by the British, but it is now owned by the USA, but still written in British English. Over time, the encyclopedia has difficulties trying to earn money, which almost every encyclopedia is facing. People are saying that the encyclopedia has information that is not true, and so they do not buy it. Still, the encyclopedia is to many people, a very good and reliable research tool.

History[change | change source]

The Britannica has been owned by many different people, and the owners have been changed many times, and there are Scottish publisher A & C Black, Horace Everett Hooper, Sears Roebuck and William Benton. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. is owned by Jacqui Safra, a Swiss billionaire and actor, now. Information technology has become better recently and since more electronic encyclopedias such as Microsoft Encarta and Wikipedia have made people not want to buy encyclopedias in print anymore.[3] So that it still can survive, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. has kept on telling people that the Britannica is good and accurate, made the encyclopedia cheaper, and made electronic versions on CD-ROM, DVD and the World Wide Web. Since the early 1930s, the company has also promoted spin-off reference works.[4]

Editions[change | change source]

Title page of the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica

There are 15 official editions of the encyclopedia, with some extensions to the 3rd and 5th editions (see the Table below). Actually, you can say that the 10th edition was only a extension to the 9th edition, and the 12th and 13th editions were extensions to the 11th edition. The 15th edition got a huge re-organisation in 1985, and the updated, current version is the 15th edition.

Through the encyclopedia's history, the Britannica wanted to be an excellent reference book and to provide learning materials for those who want to study.[5] In 1974, the 15th edition had a third wish: to put all that everyone knows together.[6] The history of the Britannica can be divided into five main eras, or a length of time, all of them listed below.


First era[change | change source]

In the first era (1st–6th editions, 1768–1826), the Britannica was controlled by the people who first wrote it, Colin Macfarquhar and Andrew Bell, and by their friends and relations, such as Thomas Bonar, George Gleig and Archibald Constable. The Britannica was first published between 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh, a city in Scotland, called the Encyclopædia Britannica, or, A dictionary of arts and sciences, compiled upon a new plan. It was written to replace the French Encyclopedie. Its logo, which is the floral emblem of Scotland, shows that the Britannica was a Scottish business. The encyclopedia being created, is one of the most famous events that happened in the time when Scotland started inventing many things, or The Enlightenment.[7] In this era, the Britannica started as three-book set ( in the 1st edition) written by one young editor—William Smellie[8]Slowly, the Britannica changed, in the first era, to a 20-book set written by many people. Although a few other encyclopaedias had been fighting with the Britannica, such as Rees's Cyclopaedia and Coleridge's Encyclopaedia Metropolitana, these encyclopedias either went bankrupt or were not finished because the people writing them argued. When the first era was almost over, the Britannica had many people helping to write it, all having different types of skills. The encyclopedia managed to get so many people by inviting their friends to help.

The middle 19th century editions of Encyclopædia Britannica included seminal research such as Thomas Young's article on Egypt, which included the translation of the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone (pictured).

Second era[change | change source]

In the second era (7th–9th editions, 1827–1901), the Britannica was owned by the Edinburgh company, A & C Black. Although some of the people who helped write the Britannica helped because they were friends of the most important editors, many other people wanted to help the Britannica because it was becoming very successful. These people came from many other countries, and some of them were very famous for the things they wrote about. An index of all the articles was written to add to the 7th edition of the encyclopedia, and they continued to make an index until 1974. The first English chief editor was Thomas Spencer Baynes, who led the making of the famous 9th edition, which is also called the "Scholar's Edition". The 9th edition is considered to be the Britannica most meant for students ever written.[1][9] However, at the end of the 19th century, the 9th edition was already too old and the Britannica had many financial problems.

Third era[change | change source]

In the third era (10th–14th editions, 1901–1973), the Britannica was owned by American people, who started to advertise a lot to earn more money. The American owners also slowly made the Britannica's articles simpler, making them less for students only, but for everyone. The 11th edition is said by many people to be the best edition of the encyclopedia. Its owner, Horace Hooper, worked extremely hard to make the 11th edition perfect.[9] When Hooper had financial problems, the Britannica was managed by Sears Roebuck for about 18 years (1920–1923, 1928–1943). In 1932, the vice-president of Sears, Elkan Harrison Powell, owned the Britannica. In 1936, he started to continuously revise the encyclopedia often (still done so today), in which every article is checked at least two times every ten years. This was a big difference from before, when the articles were not changed until they wrote a new edition, about every 25 years, with some articles used again without revising them in the ext edition.[4] He also quickly made some educational products which made the encyclopedia even more well known by everyone. In 1943, William Benton managed the Britannica until his death in 1973. Benton also set up the Benton Foundation, which managed the Britannica until 1996. In 1968, near the end of this era, the Britannica celebrated its 200 year anniversary.

U.S. advertisement for the 11th edition from the May 1913 issue of National Geographic Magazine

Fourth era[change | change source]

In the fourth era (15th edition, 1974–1994), the Britannica published its 15th edition, which was made into three parts: the Micropædia, the Macropædia and the Propædia. Under the control of Mortimer J. Adler (member of the Board of Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica since its inception in 1949, and its chair from 1974; director of editorial planning for the fifteenth edition of Britannica from 1965),[10] the Britannica sought not only to be a good reference work and educational tool, but also to systematise all of human knowledge. The absence of a separate index and the grouping of articles into two parallel encyclopaedias (the Micro- and Macropædia) provoked a "firestorm of criticism" of the initial 15th edition.[1][11] In response, the 15th edition was completely re-organised and indexed for a re-release in 1985. This second version of the 15th edition continues to be published and revised; the latest version is the 2007 print version. The official title of the 15th edition is the New Encyclopædia Britannica, although it has also been promoted as Britannica 3.[1]

Fifth era[change | change source]

In the fifth era (1994–present), digital versions of the Britannica have been developed and released on optical media and online. In 1996, the Britannica was bought from the Benton Foundation by Jacqui Safra at well below its estimated value, owing to the company's financial difficulties. The Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. company split in 1999. One part retained the company name and developed the print version, and the other part, Britannica.com Inc., developed the digital versions. Since 2001, these two companies shared a single CEO, originally Ilan Yeshua, who has continued Powell's strategy of growing Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. by introducing new products branded with the Britannica name.



Dedications[change | change source]

The Britannica was dedicated to the reigning British monarch from 1788 to 1901 and then, upon its sale to an American partnership, to both the British monarch and the President of the United States.[1] Thus, the 11th edition is "dedicated by Permission to His Majesty George the Fifth, King of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, and to William Howard Taft, President of the United States of America."[12] The order of the two dedications has changed with the relative power of the United States and Britain, and with the relative sales of the Britannica in these countries; the 1954 version of the 14th edition is "Dedicated by Permission to the Heads of the Two English-Speaking Peoples, Dwight David Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second."[13] Consistent with this tradition, the 2007 version of the current 15th edition is "dedicated by permission to the current President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II."[14]

The Encyclopedia Now[change | change source]

15th edition of the Britannica. The initial volume with the green spine is the Propædia; the red-spined and black-spined volumes are the Micropædia and the Macropædia, respectively. The last three volumes are the 2002 Book of the Year (black spine) and the two-volume index (cyan spine).
Encyclopædia Britannica International Chinese Edition, translated from the original 15th edition with a few articles modified or rewritten, is published by Encyclopedia of China Publishing House; the 19th and 20th of the all 20 volumes are index.

2007 print version[change | change source]

Since 1985, the Britannica has had four parts: the Micropædia, the Macropædia, the Propædia, and a two-book index. The Britannica's articles are found in the Micropædia and Macropædia, which contain 12 and 17 books, respectively, each book having about one thousand pages. The 2007 Macropædia has 699 detailed articles, which can be as short as 2 pages and as long as 310 pages, and having references and named writers. The 2007 Micropædia has about 65,000 articles, and about 97% contain less than 750 words, no references, and no named contributors.[15] The Micropædia articles are supposed to be for quick fact-checking and to help in finding more information in the Macropædia. The Macropædia articles are supposed to be well-written articles on their subjects and articles of information where you cannot find anywhere else.[1] The longest article (310 pages) is on the United States, and came from putting the articles on the individual states together.

Information can be found in the Britannica by following the notes telling where people can find more information in the Micropædia and Macropædia; but there are very little of this, with about only one of this every page.[2] So, readers are asked to try to use the indexes or the Propædia, which organises what is in the Britannica's by topic.[16]

The use of the Propædia is its "Outline of Knowledge," which wants to organise all of everything people know.[6] The Outline is thought through by the Britannica's editors to decide which articles should be included in the Micropædia and Macropædia.[6] The Outline is also intended to be a study guide, and to tell a student who wants to learn a topic in depth what articles to use.[6] However, libraries say that very few people use it, and reviewers recommend the encyclopedias to not print it anymore.[17] The Propædia also has diagrams printed on transparent paper of big topics and a section which lists the people working together to make the encyclopedia.

Altogether, the Micropædia and Macropædia have about 40 million words and 24,000 pictures.[16] The index has 2,350 pages, which lists all the 228,274 topics written about in the Britannica,.[2] The Britannica uses the British spellings and not American spellings.[2] For example, it uses colour (not color), centre (not center), and encyclopaedia (not encyclopedia). However, this rule is not always followed, for example defense and not defence.[18] The other spellings of the word is sometimes shown with a link, for example "Color: see Colour."

Since 1936, the articles of the Britannica have been revised oftenly, with about 10% of the articles brought to be re-written each year.[2][4] One Britannica website says that 46% of the articles were revised in the past three years;[19] but another Britannica web-site says only 35% of the articles were revised.[20]

The way the articles are arranged (in alphabet order) in the Micropædia and Macropædia is very accurate.[21] Non-English letters are ignored and articles with numbers such as "War of 1812" are arranged as if the number had been written out ("War of Eighteen-twelve"). If the articles have the same names, articles about persons go first, then by places, then by things. People with the same names are arranged first alphabetically by country and then by their time. Similarly, places that have the same names are arranged by alphabet by the country they are in.

Other Britannicas[change | change source]

There are a few smaller versions of the Britannica encyclopedias. The Britannica Concise Encyclopædia, written in one book, has 28,000 shorter articles. [22] Compton's by Britannica, published in 2007, with the old Compton's Encyclopedia, in it is written for teenagers who are 10–17 years old and has 26 books and 11,000 pages in it.[23] A Children's Britannica was published by the company in 1960; this was edited by John Armitage and written for His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; the writers were almost all British.[24] Other books are My First Britannica, written for children who are six to twelve years old, and the Britannica Discovery Library, written for children who are three to six years old (issued in 1974 to 1991).[25] Since 1938, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. has published a Book of the Year every year, with information about the past year's events, which is written online since the 1994 edition (with the events of 1993). The company also publishes a few books on special topics, such as Shakespeare: The Essential Guide to the Life and Works of the Bard (Wiley, 2006).

Electronic Versions[change | change source]

The Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2006 DVD contains over 55 million words and over 100,000 articles.[26] It includes 73,645 Britannica articles, with the other articles from the Britannica Student Encyclopædia, the Britannica Elementary Encyclopædia and the Britannica Book of the Years (1993–2004), plus a few old articles from old editions of the encyclopaedia. The whole DVD also includes other bonus tools including maps, videos, sound clips, animations and web links. It also has study tools and a dictionary and thesaurus from Merriam-Webster.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online is a web site with more than 120,000 articles and is updated often.[27] It has features, updates and links to news reports from The New York Times and the BBC every day. People need to pay to use the website. [28] Special discounts are given to schools, colleges and libraries since these big groups of people are important in Britannica's business. Articles can be read online for free, but only the first few sentences can be seen. Beginning in early 2007, the Britannica let people read the articles for free if they are linked to another website,[29] since these links let the articles appear more often and easily in search engines.

On 20 February 2007, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. said that it was working with mobile phone search company AskMeNow to make an encyclopedia in phones.[30] Users can send a question by text message, and AskMeNow will search Britannica's 28,000-article encyclopedia to answer the user.

An idea to use a wiki-Britannica was announced on the June 3, 2008. A lot of people will be involved, with the Britannica staff editing important parts.[31] [32]

Critical and popular assessments[change | change source]

Reputation[change | change source]

Since the 3rd edition, the Britannica has enjoyed a popular and critical reputation for general excellence.[1][2][15] Various editions from the 3rd to the 9th were pirated for sale in the United States,[9] beginning with Dobson's Encyclopædia.[33] On the release of the 14th edition, Time magazine dubbed the Britannica the "Patriarch of the Library".[34] In a related advertisement, naturalist William Beebe was quoted as saying that the Britannica was "beyond comparison because there is no competitor."[35] References to the Britannica can be found throughout English literature, most notably in one of Arthur Conan Doyle's favourite Sherlock Holmes stories, "The Red-Headed League". The tale was highlighted by the Lord Mayor of London, Gilbert Inglefield, at the bicentennial of the Britannica.[36]

The Britannica has a popular reputation for summarising all of human knowledge.[37] To further their education, many have devoted themselves to reading the entire Britannica, taking anywhere from three to 22 years to do so.[9] When Fat'h Ali became the Shah of Persia in 1797, he was given a complete set of the Britannica's 3rd edition, which he read completely; after this feat, he extended his royal title to include "Most Formidable Lord and Master of the Encyclopædia Britannica."[36] Writer George Bernard Shaw claimed to have read the complete 9th edition—except for the science articles[9]—and Richard Evelyn Byrd took the Britannica as reading material for his five-month stay at the South Pole in 1934, while Philip Beaver read it during a sailing expedition. More recently, A.J. Jacobs, an editor at Esquire magazine, read the entire 2002 version of the 15th edition, describing his experiences in the well-received 2004 book, The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World. Only two people are known to have read two independent editions: the author C. S. Forester[9] and Amos Urban Shirk, an American businessman, who read the 11th and 14th editions, devoting roughly three hours per night for four and a half years to read the 11th.[38] Several editors-in-chief of the Britannica are likely to have read their editions completely, such as William Smellie (1st edition), William Robertson Smith (9th edition), and Walter Yust (14th edition).

Awards[change | change source]

The Britannica continues to win awards. The online Britannica won the 2005 Codie award for "Best Online Consumer Information Service";[39] the Codie awards are granted yearly by the Software and Information Industry Association to recognise the best products among categories of software. In 2006, the Britannica was again a finalist.[40] Similarly, the CD/DVD-ROM version of the Britannica received the 2004 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers,[41] and Codie awards in 2000, 2001 and 2002.[42][43]

Coverage of topics[change | change source]

As a general encyclopaedia, the Britannica seeks to describe as wide a range of topics as possible. The topics are chosen in part by reference to the Propædia "Outline of Knowledge".[6] The bulk of the Britannica is devoted to geography (26% of the Macropædia), biography (14%), biology and medicine (11%), literature (7%), physics and astronomy (6%), religion (5%), art (4%), Western philosophy (4%), and law (3%).[1] A complementary study of the Micropædia found that geography accounted for 25% of articles, science 18%, social sciences 17%, biography 17%, and all other humanities 25%.[2] Writing in 1992, one reviewer judged that the "range, depth, and catholicity of coverage [of the Britannica] are unsurpassed by any other general encyclopedia."[44]

The Britannica does not cover similar topics in equivalent detail; for example, the whole of Buddhism and most other religions is covered in a single Macropædia article, whereas 14 articles are devoted to Christianity, comprising nearly half of all religion articles.[45] However, the Britannica has been lauded as the least biased of general encyclopedias marketed to Western readers[1] and praised for its biographies of important women of all eras.[2]

It can be stated without fear of contradiction that the 15th edition of the Britannica accords non-Western cultural, social, and scientific developments more notice than any general English-language encyclopedia currently on the market.

Kenneth Kister, in Kister's Best Encyclopedias (1994)

Criticisms[change | change source]

The Britannica has also received criticism, especially as its editions become outdated. It is expensive to produce a completely new edition of the Britannica,[46] and its editors generally delay this for as long as fiscally sensible (usually about 25 years).[4] For example, despite the policy of continuous revision, the 14th edition had become significantly outdated after 35 years (1929–1964). When American physicist Harvey Einbinder detailed its failings in his 1964 book, The Myth of the Britannica,[47] the encyclopaedia was provoked to produce the 15th edition, which required 10 years of work.[1] It is still difficult to keep the Britannica current; one recent critic writes, "it is not difficult to find articles that are out-of-date or in need of revision," noting that the longer Macropædia articles are more likely to be outdated than the shorter Micropædia articles.[1] Information in the Micropædia is sometimes inconsistent with the corresponding Macropædia article(s), mainly because of the failure to update one or the other.[2][15] The bibliographies of the Macropædia articles have been criticised for being more out-of-date than the articles themselves.[1][2][15]

Historically, the Britannica's authors have included eminent authorities, such as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Leon Trotsky. However, some of its contributors have been criticised for their lack of expertise:[48]

With a temerity almost appalling, [the Britannica contributor, Mr. Philips] ranges over nearly the whole field of European history, political, social, ecclesiastical… The grievance is that [this work] lacks authority. This, too—this reliance on editorial energy instead of on ripe special learning—may, alas, be also counted an "Americanizing": for certainly nothing has so cheapened the scholarship of our American encyclopaedias.

—Prof. George L. Burr, in the American Historical Review (1911)

Bias[change | change source]

Various authorities ranging from Virginia Woolf to academic professors criticised the 11th edition Britannica for having bourgeois and old-fashioned opinions on art, literature and social sciences.[37] For example, it was faulted for neglecting the work of Sigmund Freud. A contemporary Cornell professor, Edward B. Titchener, wrote in 1912, "the new Britannica does not reproduce the psychological atmosphere of its day and generation… Despite the halo of authority, and despite the scrutiny of the staff, the great bulk of the secondary articles in general psychology … are not adapted to the requirements of the intelligent reader."[49]

Editorial choices[change | change source]

The Britannica is occasionally criticised for its editorial choices. Given its roughly constant size, the encyclopaedia has needed to reduce or eliminate some topics to accommodate others, resulting in some controversial decisions. The initial 15th edition (1974–1985) was faulted for having drastically reduced or eliminated its coverage of children's literature, military decorations, and the French poet Joachim du Bellay; editorial mistakes were also alleged, such as an inconsistent sorting of Japanese biographies.[50] Its elimination of the index was condemned, as was the apparently arbitrary division of articles into the Micropædia and Macropædia.[1][11] Summing up, one critic called the initial 15th edition a "qualified failure…[that] cares more for juggling its format than for preserving information."[50] More recently, reviewers from the American Library Association were surprised to find that most educational articles had been eliminated from the 1992 Macropædia, along with the article on psychology.[17]

Britannica-appointed contributors are occasionally mistaken or unscientific. A notorious instance from the Britannica's early years is the rejection of Newtonian gravity by George Gleig, the chief editor of the 3rd edition (1788–1797), who wrote that gravity was caused by the classical element of fire.[9] However, the Britannica has also staunchly defended a scientific approach to emotional topics, as it did with William Robertson Smith's articles on religion in the 9th edition, particularly his article stating that the Bible was not historically accurate (1875).[9]

Racism and sexism in prior editions[change | change source]

By modern standards, past editions of the Britannica have contained articles marred by racism and sexism.[37] The 11th edition characterises the Ku Klux Klan as protecting the white race and restoring order to the American South after the American Civil War, citing the need to "control the negro", to "prevent any intermingling of the races" and "the frequent occurrence of the crime of rape by negro men upon white women."[51][52] Similarly, the article on Civilization argues for eugenics, stating that it is irrational to "propagate low orders of intelligence, to feed the ranks of paupers, defectives and criminals … which to-day constitute so threatening an obstacle to racial progress."[53] The 11th edition has no biography of Marie Curie, despite her winning of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911, although she is mentioned briefly under the biography of her husband Pierre Curie.[54] The Britannica employed a large female editorial staff that wrote hundreds of articles for which they were not given credit.[37]

Inaccuracy[change | change source]

In 1912 mathematician L. C. Karpinski criticised the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition for its many inaccuracies in the articles on the history of mathematics, none of which had been written by specialists in the field.[55] In 1917, art critic Willard Huntington Wright published a book, Misinforming a Nation,[56] that highlighted inaccuracies and English biases of the Eleventh Edition, particularly in the humanities articles. Many of Wright's criticisms were addressed in later editions of the Britannica. However, his book was denounced as a polemic by some contemporary reviewers; for example, the New York Times wrote that a "spiteful and shallow temper…pervades the book," while The New Republic opined, "it is unfortunate for Mr. Wright's remorseless purpose that he has proceeded in an unscientific spirit and given so little objective justification of his criticism."[9] Another critic, English writer and former priest Joseph McCabe, claimed that after the 11th edition the Britannica was censored under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church in his book, Lies And Fallacies Of The Encyclopedia Britannica (1947).[57]

The Britannica has always conceded that errors are inevitable in an encyclopaedia. Speaking of the 3rd edition (1788–1797), its chief editor George Gleig wrote that "perfection seems to be incompatible with the nature of works constructed on such a plan, and embracing such a variety of subjects." More recently (March 2006), the Britannica wrote that "we in no way mean to imply that Britannica is error-free; we have never made such a claim."[58] The sentiment is expressed by its original editor, William Smellie.

With regard to errors in general, whether falling under the denomination of mental, typographical or accidental, we are conscious of being able to point out a greater number than any critic whatever. Men who are acquainted with the innumerable difficulties of attending the execution of a work of such an extensive nature will make proper allowances. To these we appeal, and shall rest satisfied with the judgment they pronounce.

William Smellie, in the Preface to the 1st edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica

Edition summary[change | change source]

This is the list of all the editions of the encyclopedia, and all the details about them.

Edition/supplement Publication years Size Chief editor(s) Notes
1st 1768–1771 3 volumes, 2,670 pages, 160 plates William Smellie Largely the work of one editor, Smellie; 30 articles longer than three pages
2nd 1777–1784 10 volumes, 8,595 pages, 340 plates James Tytler 150 long articles; pagination errors; all maps under "Geography" article
3rd 1788–1797 18 volumes, 14,579 pages, 542 plates Colin Macfarquhar and George Gleig 42,000 pounds profit on 10,000 copies sold; introduction of chemical symbols
supplement to 3rd 1801 2 volumes, 1,624 pages, 50 plates George Gleig Copyright owned by Thomas Bonar, first dedication to monarch
4th 1801–1809 20 volumes, 16,033 pages, 581 plates James Millar Authors first allowed to retain copyright
5th 1817 20 volumes, 16,017 pages, 582 plates James Millar Financial losses by Millar and Andrew Bell's heirs; EB rights sold to Archibald Constable
supplement to 5th 1816–1824 6 volumes, 4,933 pages, 125 plates1 Macvey Napier Famous contributors recruited, such as Sir Humphry Davy, Sir Walter Scott, Malthus
6th 1820–1823 20 volumes Charles Maclaren Constable went bankrupt on 19 January 1826; EB rights eventually secured by Adam Black
7th 1830–1842 21 volumes, 17,101 pages, 506 plates, 187-page index Macvey Napier, assisted by James Browne, LLD Widening network of famous contributors, such as Sir David Brewster, Thomas de Quincey, Antonio Panizzi
8th 1853–1860 21 volumes, 17,957 pages, 402 plates; separate 239-page index, published 18612 Thomas Stewart Traill Many long articles were copied from the 7th edition; 344 contributors including William Thomson
9th 1875–1889 24 volumes, plus one index volume Thomas Spencer Baynes (1875–80); then W. Robertson Smith Some carry-over from 8th edition, but mostly a new work; high point of scholarship; pirated widely in the U.S.3
10th,
supplement to 9th
1902–1903 11 volumes, plus the 24 volumes of the 9th4 Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace and Hugh Chisholm in London; Arthur T. Hadley & Franklin Henry Hooper in New York City American partnership bought EB rights on 9 May 1901; high-pressure sales methods
11th 1910–1911 28 volumes, plus one index volume Hugh Chisholm in London, Franklin Henry Hooper in New York City Another high point of scholarship and writing; more articles than the 9th, but shorter and simpler; financial difficulties for owner, Horace Everett Hooper; EB rights sold to Sears Roebuck in 1920
12th,
supplement to 11th
1921–1922 3 volumes, plus the 28 volumes of the 11th5 Hugh Chisholm in London, Franklin Henry Hooper in New York City Summarized state of the world before, during, and after World War I
13th,
supplement to 11th
1926 3 volumes, plus the 28 volumes of the 11th6 James Louis Garvin in London, Franklin Henry Hooper in New York City Replaced 12th edition volumes; improved perspective of the events of 1910–1926
14th 1929–1933 24 volumes 7 James Louis Garvin in London, Franklin Henry Hooper in New York City Publication just before Great Depression was financially catastrophic
revised 14th 1933–1973 24 volumes 7 Franklin Henry Hooper until 1938; then Walter Yust, Harry Ashmore, Warren E. Preece, William Haley Began continuous revision in 1936: every article revised at least twice every decade
15th 1974–1984 30 volumes 8 Warren E. Preece, then Philip W. Goetz Introduced three-part structure; division of articles into Micropædia and Macropædia; Propædia Outline of Knowledge; separate index eliminated
1985–present 32 volumes 9 Philip W. Goetz, then Robert McHenry, currently Dale Hoiberg Restored two-volume index; merged Micropædia and Macropædia articles; slightly longer overall; new versions issued every few years
Edition notes

1Supplement to the fourth, fifth, and sixth editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. With preliminary dissertations on the history of the sciences.

2 The 8th to 14th editions included a separate index volume.

3 The 9th edition featured articles by notables of the day, such as James Maxwell on electricity and magnetism, and William Thomson (who became Lord Kelvin) on heat.

4 The 10th edition included a maps volume and a cumulative index volume for the 9th and 10th edition volumes: the new volumes, constituting, in combination with the existing volumes of the 9th ed., the 10th ed. … and also supplying a new, distinctive, and independent library of reference dealing with recent events and developments

5 Vols. 30–32 … the New volumes constituting, in combination with the twenty-nine volumes of the eleventh edition, the twelfth edition

6 This supplement replaced the previous supplement: The three new supplementary volumes constituting, with the volumes of the latest standard edition, the thirteenth edition.

7 This edition was the first to be kept up to date by continual (usually annual) revision.

8 The 15th edition (introduced as "Britannica 3") was published in three parts: a 10-volume Micropædia (which contained short articles and served as an index), a 19-volume Macropædia, plus the Propædia (see text). It was reorganised in 1985 to have 12 and 17 volumes in the Micro- and Macropædia.

9 In 1985, the system was modified by adding a separate two-volume index; the Macropædia articles were further consolidated into fewer, larger ones (for example, the previously separate articles about the 50 U.S. states were all included into the "United States of America" article), with some medium-length articles moved to the Micropædia.

The first CD-ROM edition was issued in 1994. At that time also an online version was offered for paid subscription. In 1999 this was offered for free, and no revised print versions appeared. The experiment was ended in 2001 and a new printed set was issued in 2002.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Kister, KF (1994). Kister's Best Encyclopedias: A Comparative Guide to General and Specialized Encyclopedias (2nd ed. ed.). Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press. ISBN 0897747445.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Sader, Marian (1995). Encyclopedias, Atlases, and Dictionaries. New Providence, NJ: R. R. Bowker (A Reed Reference Publishing Company). ISBN 0-8352-3669-2. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  3. Day, Peter (17 December 1997). "Encyclopaedia Britannica changes to survive". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-03-27. Sales plummeted from 100,000 a year to just 20,000. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Encyclopædia". Encyclopædia Britannica (14th edition ed.). 1954.CS1 maint: extra text (link) Aside from providing an excellent summary of the Britannica's history and early spin-off products, this article also describes the life-cycle of a typical Britannica edition. A new edition typically begins with strong sales that gradually decay as the encyclopaedia becomes outdated. When work on a new edition is begun, word leaks out and sales of the old edition effectively stop, just at the time when the fiscal needs are greatest: a new editorial staff must be assembled, articles commissioned, etc. Elkan Harrison Powell identified this cyclic fluctuation of income as a key danger to the fiscal health of any encyclopaedia, one that he hoped to overcome with his innovative policy of continuous revision.
  5. Cite error: The named reference EB_encyclopedia was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Cite error: The named reference propedia_preface was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  7. Herman, Arthur (2002). How the Scots Invented the Modern World. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0609809990.
  8. Krapp, Philip (1992). Collier's Encyclopedia. 9. New York: Macmillan Educational Company. pp. p. 135. LCCN 91-61165. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)CS1 maint: extra text (link) Many people said that the first edition of the encyclopedia was very inaccurate, and had many problems in it.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 Cite error: The named reference kogan_1958 was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  10. Mortimer J. Adler, A Guidebook to Learning: for the lifelong pursuit of wisdom. MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1986. p.88
  11. 11.0 11.1 Baker, John F. (14 January 1974). "A New Britannica Is Born". Publishers Weekly. pp. 64–65. Check date values in: |date= (help)
    * Wolff, Geoffrey (June 1974). "Britannica 3, History of". The Atlantic. pp. 37–47.
    * Cole, Dorothy Ethlyn (June 1974). "Britannica 3 as a Reference Tool: A Review". Wilson Library Bulletin. pp. 821–825. Britannica 3 is difficult to use … the division of content between Micropædia and Macropædia makes it necessary to consult another volume in the majority of cases; indeed, it was our experience that even simple searches might involve eight or nine volumes.
    * Davis, Robert Gorham (1 December 1974). "Subject: The Universe". The New York Times Book Review. pp. 98–100. Check date values in: |date= (help)
    * Hazo, Robert G. (9 March 1975). "The Guest Word". The New York Times Book Review. p. 31. Check date values in: |date= (help)
    * McCracken, Samuel (February 1976). "The Scandal of 'Britannica 3'". Commentary. pp. 63–68. This arrangement has nothing to recommend it except commercial novelty.
    * Waite, Dennis V. (21 June 1976). "Encyclopaedia Britannica: EB 3, Two Years Later". Publishers Weekly. pp. 44–45. Check date values in: |date= (help)
    * Wolff, Geoffrey (November 1976). "Britannica 3, Failures of". The Atlantic. pp. 107–110. It is called the Micropædia, for 'little knowledge', and little knowledge is what it provides. It has proved to be grotesquely inadequate as an index, radically constricting the utility of the Macropædia.
  12. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition ed.). 1910. pp. p.3.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  13. Encyclopædia Britannica (14th edition ed.). 1954. pp. p.3.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  14. The New Encyclopædia Britannica (15th edition, Propædia ed.). pp. p.3.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Purchasing an Encyclopedia: 12 Points to Consider (5th edition ed.). Booklist Publications, American Library Association. 1996. ISBN 0-8389-7823-1.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Cite error: The named reference index_preface was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  17. 17.0 17.1 Purchasing an Encyclopedia: 12 Points to Consider (4th edition ed.). Booklist Publications, American Library Association. 1992. ISBN 0-8389-5754-4.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  18. "Defense mechanism". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (15th edition ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2007. pp. p. 957.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  19. "Encyclopædia Britannica: School & Library Site, promotional materials for the 2007 Britannica". Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  20. "Australian Encyclopædia Britannica, promotional materials for the 2007 Britannica". Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  21. The New Encyclopædia Britannica (15th edition, Micropædia preface ed.). 2007.
  22. "2003 Britannica Concise Encyclopedia". Encyclopædia Britannica (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  23. "2007 Compton's by Britannica". Encyclopædia Britannica (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  24. Children's Britannica. ed. John Armitage. 1960. Encyclopædia Britannica Ltd. London.
  25. "Britannica Discovery Library (issued 1974–1991)". Encyclopædia Britannica (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  26. "2007 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD". Encyclopædia Britannica (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  27. "Britannica Online". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
  28. "Britannica Online Store—BT Click&Buy". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2006-09-27.
  29. "Instructions for linking to the Britannica articles". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
  30. AskMeNow, Inc. (21 February 2007). "Encyclopaedia Britannica Selects AskMeNow to Launch Mobile Encyclopedia". Press release. http://www.mirror99.com/20070221/encyclopaedia_britannica_selects_askmenow_to_launch_mobile_geae.jspx. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  31. Collaboration and the Voices of Experts Jorge Cauz, June 3rd, 2008
  32. [1]Wired Blog
  33. Arner, Robert D. (1991). Dobson's Encyclopaedia: The Publisher, Text, and Publication of America's First Britannica, 1789–1803. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  34. "Patriarch Revised". XIV (13). TIME. 23 September 1929. pp. 66–69.
  35. "A Completely New Encyclopaedia (sic) Britannica". XIV (12). TIME. 16 September 1929. pp. 2–3.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Banquet at Guildhall in the City of London, Tuesday 15 October 1968: Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Encyclopædia Britannica and the 25th Anniversary of the Honorable William Benton as its Chair and Publisher. United Kingdom: Encyclopædia Britannica International, Ltd. 1968.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 Thomas, Gillian (1992). A Position to Command Respect: Women and the Eleventh Britannica. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-2567-8.
  38. "Reader". 9. The New Yorker. 3 March 1934. p. 17.
  39. "2005 CODiE Award Winners: Content Categories". Software and Information Industry Association. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  40. "2006 Codie Award Finalists: Content Categories". Software and Information Industry Association. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  41. "2004 Distinguished Achievement Awards Winners: Technology". Association of Educational Publishers. 1 August 2003. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  42. "2001 Codie Awards Winners". Software and Information Industry Association. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  43. "2002 Codie Awards Winners". Software and Information Industry Association. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  44. Lang, JP (1992). Reference Sources for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries (5th ed. ed.). Chicago: American Library Association. p. 34.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  45. The New Encyclopædia Britannica (15th edition, Macropædia ed.). 2007. See also the list of 2007 Macropædia articles.
  46. According to Kister (1994, reference 1 above), the initial 15th edition (1974) required over $32 million dollars to produce.
  47. Einbinder, Harvey (1964). The Myth of the Britannica. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 978-0384140509.
  48. Burr, George L. (1911). "The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information". American Historical Review 17: 103–109. doi:10.2307/1832843. 
  49. Titchener, EB (1912). "The Psychology of the new 'Britannica'". American Journal of Psychology 23: 37–58. doi:10.2307/1413113. 
  50. 50.0 50.1 Prescott, Peter S. (8 July 1974). "The Fifteenth Britannica". Newsweek: 71–72. 
  51. Fleming, Walter Lynwood (1911). "Lynch Law". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  52. Fleming, Walter Lynwood (1911). "Ku Klux Klan". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  53. Williams, Henry Smith (1911). "Civilization". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  54. "Pierre Curie". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 1911.CS1 maint: extra text (link)
  55. Karpinski, L. C. (1912). "History of Mathematics in the Recent Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica". Science 35 (888): 29–31. doi:10.1126/science.35.888.29. PMID 17752897. 
  56. Wright, WH (pen-name S. S. Van Dine) (1917). Misinforming a Nation. New York: B. W. Huebsch. ASIN B000861CHG.
  57. McCabe, J (1947). Lies And Fallacies Of The Encyclopedia Britannica. Haldeman-Julius. ASIN B0007FFJF4.
  58. Cite error: The named reference fatally_flawed was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).

See also[change | change source]

Further reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

Official site
Historical articles
Earlier editions (in the public domain in the U.S.A.)
Recent events
A comparison of the two encyclopedias by Panagiota Alevizou, published in the Educational Technology & Society journal.
Business history

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