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  • End of an era, end of printed encyclopedias

    I just saw an article I thought some on here would be interested in. Apparently after 244 years of publishing, the Encyclopedia Brittanica will no longer be printed but rather be in digital format only.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/13/tech...ooks/index.htm
    "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

  • #2
    The demise of the Britannica is a symbolic loss, but it was inevitable. The 11th edition was the last really good one.

    I found an almost complete 9th edition (1875-1889) in a garage sale when I lived in Texas in 1998. The bindings were hopelessly damaged; but all the maps were pristine. I excised these from the volumes, and still have the complete set, one each for every country in the world, and for each English county.

    I later bought an 11th edition (1910-11) in black leather. This included many of the articles from the 9th edition without change. But I sold that on eBay ten years ago, and delivered it in a large box to the buyer at an arranged meeting place in San Francisco.

    I still have Vol. XXII POL-REE from the 11th (an extra copy) in that black leather binding. I treated the leather and it is in fine condition, 976 pages of thin paper with articles almost too erudite for the non-specialist. I will not sell this book.
    Last edited by aostling; 03-21-2012, 01:33 AM.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

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    • #3
      Paper versus plastic

      DVD's or other digital methods of storage and retreival all require a steady and clean source of power . a paper book doesnt.

      And for those that will say digital media can be updated quickly and cheaply .
      I am old talking about reference material a lot of which doesnt change over a very long period of time .

      I can pick up a book and find the relevant article / page far quicker than , starting up a windows based pc and then being told that the page cant be displayed due to a network error , not nice when you are making something and require a standard thread pitch or similar.

      The digital gear will be ok for reading a novel if ever there is time.
      Michael

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      • #4
        Got a complete set in brilliant condition, don't know what edition as they are still in storage in the boxes we bought them in

        Gotta stop buying books..........................sigh

        Seriously need to go thru all these boxes and have a big cull, looking on some of the shelves the other month and didn't see some of my early motor cycle books like Tuning for Speed and the Velocette Story are two that come to mind. These must be in some of the boxes.

        Next month we will be boxing up and getting rid of about 40 big boxes of books, two full pallets worth on Ebay, probably get £40 a pallet if lucky.

        This is not an advert as they are just generic fiction books and real obscure non fiction, the dross from sorting out bulk buys. Ideal for jumble sales and fund raising.

        Just need to get rid.
        .

        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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        • #5
          Originally posted by aostling
          The 11th edition was the last really good one.

          +1

          have the 11th and another much later 1950 or so one, plus a post-war one (1919 or so) that I don't know what to do with.

          The 11th has very in-depth articles, the post war somewhat less-so but still decent, and the 1950s one is noticeably smaller, "thinned and lightened" in bulk and in content.

          Eventually the E.B. became pretty much of a joke... I think someone bought out the name, and did a "Reader's digest" job on it.... capitalizing on the name, but having none of the content. The DVD version will be unreadable in a short while, which perhaps is for the best. I wouldn't have a later copy than the 1050 for a gift.... waste of space.

          Yes, I have a lot of books.
          1601

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

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          • #6
            We can read 3,000-year-old books; can anybody read a 30-year-old 8" floppy disk anymore?
            ----------
            Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
            Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
            Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
            There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
            Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
            Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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            • #7
              The thing is with books when you are thumbing through looking for a particular item or subject you often stumble across things quite by accident. It may have no relevance to the subject you may be looking for but none the less a mental note gets made and it is remembered for a later date.

              When accessing similar information on the web you go straight there, you miss the chance to stumble on the other information to add to the data base in the brain.

              Nemesis

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Nemesis
                The thing is with books when you are thumbing through looking for a particular item or subject you often stumble across things quite by accident. It may have no relevance to the subject you may be looking for but none the less a mental note gets made and it is remembered for a later date.

                When accessing similar information on the web you go straight there, you miss the chance to stumble on the other information to add to the data base in the brain.

                Nemesis
                Yes, I think that's a major point about books as a reference. Back in middle school if I didn't have homework during study periods I'd pick off a volume of the encyclopedia and just browse through articles. Amazing things I'd never have encountered otherwise. I mentioned this to siblings a couple years ago and nobody could imagine just looking in encyclopedias for fun. Must be the weird end of the family I guess.
                .
                "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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                • #9
                  When accessing similar information on the web you go straight there, you miss the chance to stumble on the other information to add to the data base in the brain.
                  I wish that were true. I end up with 40 or 50 windows open. Then I save them as sessions in Chrome so I can later open all 20 pages at once and generate several more session of stuff to try to get around to reading later. It's ten times worse than my old paper encyclopedias. The only reason I crack the EB anymore is to see if I can find the page I hid that $20 in. Still haven't found it.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Evan
                    I wish that were true. I end up with 40 or 50 windows open. Then I save them as sessions in Chrome so I can later open all 20 pages at once and generate several more session of stuff to try to get around to reading later. It's ten times worse than my old paper encyclopedias. The only reason I crack the EB anymore is to see if I can find the page I hid that $20 in. Still haven't found it.
                    Couldn't agree more! I often go to view a YouTube video for some specific purpose, and 30 minutes later find myself on my 10th irrelevant video and I can't remember how I got there!

                    Whilst it's true that digital media may become inaccessible to future generations, it's equally true that books disintegrate in due time and are more readily discarded because of the physical space they consume.

                    There are pros and cons to both, but I can understand why digital is winning at the moment, I just hope we see more "long lasting" digital storage solutions becoming available.

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                    • #11
                      Most books printed in the 20TH century have a life of about 100 years, then they start to crumble. This is a big headache for libraries and other institutions that store large numbers of books. Books that were not printed in large numbers are in danger of disappearing along with the knowledge they contain.

                      Digitizing may be the only recourse to save the info they contain, reprinting all these old books would be to expensive to be practical.

                      Like it or not we will have to move out of the 19TH century
                      The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                      Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Evan
                        I wish that were true. I end up with 40 or 50 windows open. Then I save them as sessions in Chrome so I can later open all 20 pages at once and generate several more session of stuff to try to get around to reading later. It's ten times worse than my old paper encyclopedias. The only reason I crack the EB anymore is to see if I can find the page I hid that $20 in. Still haven't found it.
                        You should put it under "M" for money. You have to think about it for a split second, so that eliminates most people being able to find it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SGW
                          We can read 3,000-year-old books; can anybody read a 30-year-old 8" floppy disk anymore?
                          Good point!Also with the digital format history can now be revised daily.
                          I just need one more tool,just one!

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                          • #14
                            History has always been written by the victors.

                            There are plenty of ways to archive digital media in a more permanent form, including on paper.

                            I happen to like this one:

                            http://ollydbg.de/Paperbak/
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Evan
                              History has always been written by the victors.

                              There are plenty of ways to archive digital media in a more permanent form, including on paper.

                              I happen to like this one:

                              http://ollydbg.de/Paperbak/
                              Evan, Have you actually done this? The top of the linked page says
                              something about a "joke". It sounds like a winner for a lot of things.
                              ...Lew...

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