“And the work?”
“Is to copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica. There is the first volume of it in that press. You must find your own ink, pens, and blotting-paper, but we provide this table and chair. Will you be ready to-morrow?”
Mr Jabez Wilson was to copy out the encyclopedia in the well known story of the Red Headed League by Arthur Conan Doyle.. Set in April of 1890. That was 122 years ago. Encyclopedia Britannica was there 122 years earlier to that!! After 244 years it has now stopped its print run.
I experienced mixed emotions on reading this news today. Is it a success for the digital age? A personal victory perhaps for Wikipedians? A loss of an institution? What ever it is ‘que sera sera’ was the rationalization I adopted.
The ides of March marked the end of the Encyclopaedia Britannica . I wonder who played the role of soothsayer here. For many of us the thrill of opening the encyclopedia and reading it, finding answers was special. While the digital versions satisfying the rowing need for information much quicker, the effort put to find and read from the print media was still worth it.
What next? Dictionaries?