Mar 27, 2012

Knowledge Transfer...


The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still in print. It was first published between 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland as three volumes. The encyclopaedia grew in size, and by its fourth edition (1801–1809) it had expanded to a well known 20-volume set. Its rising stature helped recruit eminent contributors, and the 9th edition (1875–1889) and the 11th edition (1911) are landmark encyclopaedias for scholarship and literary style. Beginning with the 11th edition, the Britannica shortened and simplified articles to broaden its North American market. In 1933, the Britannica became the first encyclopaedia to adopt "continuous revision", in which the encyclopaedia is continually reprinted and every article updated on a schedule.

While at the time there were more extensive volumes, this was the first attempt to provide instruction in natural sciences during the Scottish Enlightenment.


  1. Interesting to know. We had COMPTON, growing up because it was cheaper than Britannica. Got yearly yearbooks with updates. Have tried to donate set we have, but nobody wants them. The internet rules.

  2. I heard that they were discontinuing the print versions... and it was like finding out the girl you had a crush on in high school got married to a nerdier guy than you and had three of his kids..!

  3. One of my goals as an adult was to buy the Britannica and the accompanying Great Books series for my daughter.

    I spent $2000 approx. when she was 9, and we both enjoyed them.

    Ever after.

    There was always a lot to be said for being able to lie down on the couch and read the whole article (if not more).

    I'm not getting rid of mine.

    Thanks for the memories.


  4. I think we had something called Encyclopedia Americana...? I don't recall for sure, but I remember spending lots of time reading it.


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