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Passion For Learning

End of an Era: Encyclopaedia Britannica Ends Print Edition

March 15, 2012 10:49am (EDT)
A new Encyclopædia Britannica print set will no longer be published. Photo courtesy NPR.
A new Encyclopædia Britannica print set will no longer be published. Photo courtesy NPR.

The big news this week was that after 244 years, the publishers of the Encyclopaedia Britannica will no longer produce a print version. Is there anyone who grew up in the United States that did not have a set of encyclopedias in their home, classroom or both?

Growing up we had a set in elementary classrooms that was our ‘go to’ resource for anything we had to look up. I had one teacher in elementary school that used the Encyclopaedia as a punishment tool. Miscreants were made to stand in the front of the class holding the M, or another of the largest volumes, in their hands with only the thumbs supporting the book, with arms held straight out, parallel to the floor. Within a few minutes their arms would be shaking from muscle fatigue.

We always had bets on how long it would take them to either collapse in a puddle on the floor, or for the teacher to take pity on them and allow the cessation of the torture.

Somehow holding a CD of the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica just would not have the same effect.

Take heart, ye lovers of the massive volumes. You can still purchase the 32 volume set of the remaining last print edition for a mere $1095.00.

And, by the way, I Iooked up the history of Encyclopaedia Britannica in Wikipedia.

Here is the NPR article on that.

So what were some of your stories of using print editions of Encyclopaedia Brittanica or other encyclopedias? Share them with us here!

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