Encyclopaedia Britannica

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Encyclopaedia Britannica


the oldest and one of the most famous universal encyclopedias in the capitalist world.

The first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica was published in three volumes in Edinburgh from 1768 to 1771. On the whole, the first eight editions were not of a very high standard. K. Marx, who used the eighth edition of the encyclopedia, remarked (based on his study of the articles on military and historical subjects) in a letter to F. Engels on July 16, 1857, that this encyclopedia was “copied almost verbatim from German and French publications” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 29, p. 123). The ninth edition (1875-89, in 25 volumes) of the Britannica showed considerable improvement, especially in the sections on the natural and exact sciences. The 11th edition (1910-11, in 29 volumes) is considered to be the best: the content was broadened, biographies of living figures were included for the first time, and the scientific content of a number of articles was highly esteemed by contemporaries. The extremely well-compiled index was also noteworthy. In 1929 the 14th edition of the Britannica was published in 24 volumes; it was the last edition to be numbered. Since that time the Britannica has been published using the so-called continuous revision system, according to which a small portion of the articles are revised at the time of each annual reprinting. Some American and British scholars, in analyzing the Encyclopaedia Britannica, have noted that most of the articles have been reprinted for many years without any changes although many of them contain outmoded, erroneous information.

The predominant type of article is an extended survey of a broad subject, as a result of which the number of entries is comparatively small (averaging 40,000 terms). The publishers of the Britannica draw upon scholars from approximately 50 countries to write the articles. Many questions of history, philosophy, politics, and economics are explained from anticommunist points of view.

At the beginning of the 20th century a joint Anglo-American venture was formed to work on the Britannica, a fact which has led to its transformation into a British-American encyclopedia both in content and in the basic staff of authors and editors. Since the early 1940’s the Britannica has been published in Chicago by Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., headed by W. Benton (died 1973). An editorial section of the Britannica has been retained in London. Since 1938 yearbooks entitled Britannica Book of the Year . . . have been brought out (in separate American and British editions).

In 1947, four supplementary volumes of the Britannica were published, reflecting the events of 1937-46 connected with World War II and its preparation and consequences. For the 200th anniversary of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, in 1968, three volumes were issued containing major articles on various branches of knowledge. In 1969 announcements appeared in the press concerning the initial stage of preparing a new edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The library service and Britannica Online ran a competition which was open throughout the Bucks Skills Show, a careers fair earlier this month, at the Gateway building in Aylesbury.
Britannica Online encyclopaedias have versions for five to 11-year-olds and 11 to 18-yearolds, which can be searched online, helping with topics such as religion, science, history and sport.
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica online, "The Yazidi religion combines Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian, Christian and Islamic elements.'' The chief divine figure, the Malak Taus, "is worshipped in the form of a peacock.''
"Our children and young people will now have access to Britannica Online in their own homes and this means that whatever their ability, they can learn at their own pace.
Britannica Online contains no advertising but instead offers paid premium content, a model Cauz admits is a challenge in the Web's culture of free, where the anyone-can-edit Wikipedia routinely appears at the top of Google search results.
Estados Unidos es el cuarto pais del mundo en tamano fisico, con un estimado de 305.15 millones de habitantes y una densidad de poblacion aproximada de ochenta y tres personas por milla cuadrada (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2008).
"Through access to Britannica Online, we hope that students in Bahrain can be confident that the material they are accessing not only provides them with the most accurate information available but also encourages them to think about and question the topic they are researching."
In 1989, the first multimedia CD-ROM encyclopedia, and, ultimately, in 1994 Britannica Online was launched as the first encyclopedia on the Internet.
Those with access to Encyclopedia Britannica Online already have access to much of the same material in a much more appealing format.--Bethany Martin.