It is a bit ironic that this piece of news came across my desk today as my husband and I just had a conversation about encyclopedias this weekend – specifically, those of our youth and what table legs they are probably holding up at this moment, if they aren’t in a landfill. This interesting information came to us from Oxford University Press’ blog post, “Encyclopedia editions in the digital age.”
Encyclopedias have existed for around 2,000 years and have evolved considerably since that time. Serving as a primary reference tool for most scholars, until the digital age.
We are used to thinking of editions of encyclopedias as the culmination of the work of many scholars over a period of many years. The word “edition” takes on new meaning in the digital era. The index has been translated on a digital platform into a type of metadata. The data about the data in the articles that defines and organizes the articles in various ways is a taxonomy. Some things have not changed.
Melody K. Smith
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