Sunday, 6 December 2020

a dictionary of arts and sciences, compiled upon a new plan

Under the management and editorship of its founders, Archibald Constable, Andrew Bell and Colin Macfarquhar, the first edition of volume of one of three of the Encyclopรฆdia Britannica was published on this day in Edinburgh in 1768. While not the first general knowledge reference book in English, it has been the longest-lived—though digital only since the fifteenth edition was printed in 2010, ending its rather novel, assailable layout for fact-checking and more in depth, authoritative research by breaking-out the tomes into a pro-, micro- and macropรฆdia with a compendious indices two volumes in length. The Propรฆdia is an “outline of knowledge” that shows the framework and decision-tree that the editorial board uses for inclusion and scope of coverage, and usefully gave some insight into what otherwise might just be dismissed as academic bias or Western hegemony in topic and distribution.