Encyclopaedia Britannica


The Encyclopaedia Britannica (EB) is one of the largest general-purpose offline/print encyclopaedias. Before the emergence of the Internet, the EB was one of the best sources for information on a huge assortment of subjects.

After the emergence of the Internet, EB still is one of the best sources for information on a huge assortment of subjects. What the Web gains in quantity, it makes up for by a corresponding loss of quality, consistency, reliability, and authority.

The EB has articles on topics like "Epistemological Rationalism in ancient philosophies", "The synthesis of s- and p-block organometallic compounds", "Kyrgyzstan, history of", and pottery during the "Reign of the Hs�an-te emperor (1425-35)".

The EB was first published in 1768, and its most recent paper printing was in 1974 (the 15th edition). (A 2003 copyright of the 15th edition has been published, with some updated and additional content, but it is not a major revision.)

The EB has been available via CD-ROM and web subscription since 1994. As of October 1999, the EB website changed to an advertisement-supported structure, making it free to users. The EB site was almost immediately SlashDotted (overloaded with requests), and had to temporarily shut down the main page. Since 31 July 2001, all you get free is an annoying 'teaser' fragment of the page article, plus an invitation to subscribe in order to see the complete article.
Having it on CD is like having your own private WWW.

Some people say the earlier editions are better. One time they added a lot of stuff about some world wars and took out stuff about how vacuum cleaners work (or whatever) to make room. -- DaveHarris
See info on EB + ExtremeProgramming: http://java.sun.com/features/2003/02/britannica.html
WikiPedia is an attempt to build a hyperlinked encyclopedia that is more comprehensive than the EB using a wiki. It has a long way to go. (but see http://meta.wikipedia.org/wiki/Making_fun_of_Britannica...)
The Encyclopaedia Britannica is one of the things on the desk between the dispatch boxes in the House of Commons. It's supposed to symbolise something like "government by reason". There's also the Mace (which symbolises the monarch's permission for the house to rule in their stead) and some other books. Does anyone know what the other books are??



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