This week, the news broke that Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer be printing it’s massive volumes of knowledge, instead it will be an online resource. This is big news and a very frightening thing if I may say so, to some much more than others.
Since the 1900’s there have been 6 generations: the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and the currently named, and most recent generation, Generation Z. To anyone not in Generation Z and most of Millennials, our first reports in school were written with the help of encyclopedias. The most famous being the Encyclopedia Britannica. There were even infomercials for the set.
I can’t think of a Silent Generation house that didn’t own a set of encyclopedias (maybe not Britannica but still a set). But print seems to be out of style these days. Computers no longer take up a full room, now they fit in your pocket. It is a sign of the times, that after 244 years Britannica will be going online only. But I feel that Generation Z and generations to come after will be missing out.
I’m sure, I’m not the only one who ever looked through “F” or “P” for one thing and learned something else while I was looking at that volume. The stumbling upon information is now a thing of the past, Google or Wikipedia what you need and you’ll be taken right to it. You won’t see completely unrelated, alphabetically neighboring subjects that may enlighten you. Those days are gone, not forgotten mind you, but gone.
I just see this news as another casualty of the digital era, and I’m not sure this casualty is one that we won’t miss. At least it won’t be apparent until the current stagnation of our cultural renaissance comes to a complete halt. Anyway, that’s my take away from this. What’s yours?
Also, if you’re not sure what generation you are USA Today has a great online quiz to help you figure it out.