I had planned on posting a normal review today, but decided instead to comment on Encyclopedia Britannica’s decision to discontinue print editions of their encyclopedias. Most of the articles that I’ve read so far are critical of the change, but I don’t think that it’s a bad thing.
The problem with print encyclopedias is that they are bulky, expensive, and are out-of-date from the moment that they are published. The online editions of Britannica are written with the same level of expertise and are vetted by scholars, but errors can be corrected as soon as they are discovered and the encyclopedias can be updated to reflect current events. You can’t pick up a print copy of Britannica and read about the Fukushima meltdown, but such information is provided through the digital version.
From a library reference perspective, it’s just as easy (if not easier) to look something up from an online version of Britannica, and you are providing better quality information. Focusing on the digital edition also solves the problem of shelving space from having to buy new physical reference books each year as the new editions are published. It seems a waste to have to weed out old encyclopedias to make room for the new when one can simply provide access to an updated digital version.
What are your thoughts? Is a print encyclopedia still relevant?