04 December 2018

Happy 250th Birthday, Encyclopedia Britannica

Before the Internet and before Wikipedia there was the Encyclopedia Britannica


For many kids growing up in those pre-Internet days, reading a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica was done as much for pleasure as it was for research. A general knowledge reference work, the Encyclopedia Britannica was first published in 1768 in Scotland. Its first edition had three volumes. By its eleventh edition, Britannica had expanded to 29 volumes and had moved to the United States. In 1938, the encyclopedia began continuous revision of its entries which allowed it to be more up-to-date and to publish more frequently. Over time, like other publications in the digital age, Britannica felt the pressure of the cost to produce its volumes of information and morphed into an online-only source in 2012. Britannica’s entries -- over 500,000 topics in total in each edition -- were and continue to be written by noted scholars and experts in their subjects. Contributors have included scientists Albert Einstein and Marie Curie to world leaders Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu. Because of the depth and breadth of its information, the Encyclopedia Britannica was recognized as the "Rolls-Royce of reference works." eLibrary offers two abridged versions of Encyclopedia Britannica among its titles -- Britannica Concise Encyclopedia and Compton's by Britannica. Each of these versions is easily accessible either by clicking on Books in Advanced Search and searching the publication name or by searching the publication name using the PUB operator -- PUB(Britannica Concise Encyclopedia). While not without criticism, unlike Wikipedia, which even according to itself is not a reliable source, the Encyclopedia Britannica is considered a scholarly source whose entries are trustworthy and editorially vetted. Its references provide a good overview of the subject your student is researching.

Don’t have eLibrary? Request a free trial.