National Geographic : 1913 Nov
TE ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA ETON THE IMMENSE GROWTH OF A single payment KNOWLEDGE renders an en- of $5.00 secures cyclopaedia more of a necessity delivery complete. to-day than ever before. For the same complete. reason, a book which to-day affords a thorough answer to any ques tion that can reasonably be asked must inevitably be voluminous. The contents of the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica would fill between 400 and 500 ordinary octavo books. Printed, as previous editions were printed, on ordinary paper, the 29 quarto volumes make a row 7 feet long. The ever-increasing bulk of the Encyclopaedia Britannica promised to become a serious menace to its usefulness. The present edition was already far advanced towards completion when a member of the editorial staff, rebelling at the thought that all the precious material passing through his hands was destined to be buried in volumes too cumbersome for easy reading, urged the employment of India paper. The idea was unheard of. Nothing larger than an octavo Bible had ever been printed on India paper. Seldom, however, has a revolutionary change found more complete justification in the event. The use of India paper has resulted in light, slender, elegant volumes, inviting for reference, a pleasure to read; and the whole 44 million words go into a cubic space of only 2 feet. The greater need of the day for an encyclopaedia has been met by a work which surpasses in usefulness all earlier editions, not only by reason of the more exhaustive and systematic character of its of its compact and infinitely more usable form. S INDIA PAPER IMPRESSION 29 quarto volumes; 1,000 pages each; 44,000,000 words ; 400 plates ; 7,000 other illustrations ; 300 maps. Occupying a cubic space of only 2 ft. contents, but also in virtue The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, is copyright in all countries subscribing to the Berne Convention by the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge THE MOST WONDERFUL BOOK IN THE WORLD Eleven Editions: a Century and a Half of Development 1. No more striking evidence could be given of the immense expansion of knowledge in modern times than the growth of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The three volumes of the first edition (1768), mainly the work of a single hand, have grown to 29 volumes in the 11th edition, the outcome of collaboration among some 1,500 distinguished specialists. And this growth of the Encyclopaedia Britannica is an indication also of the extent to which the need of such a work has increased with the expansion of knowledge. Ifa book of this kind was in demand 145 years ago, when a useful ac count of knowledge could be given in three volumes, how much more is such a resource needed to-day, when the required inform ation occupies almost ten times as many volumes? A Nearer Approach to Perfection 2. Besides the growth that naturally accompanies the increase of knowledge, each successive edition shows also an internal im provement upon its predecessor. The instrument is ever perfecting itself, until we come to the present edition, and to an advance for which the whole history of encyclopaedias affords no measure. Apart altogether from the immense superiority of its compact and handy format, the 11th edition excels all previous books of the kind in the following points:-(a) it is more thoroughly and consistently abreast of its times, (b) it will appeal to the reader as more exhaus tive, and (c) to the enquirer as easier of reference. An Advantage Peculiar to this Edition 3. These and other improvements-which may all be included in the general statement that the 11th edition is more systematic than its predecessors-are the result of a circumstance peculiar to the preparation of the 11th edition. For the first time in the mak ing of an extensive work, the whole book was planned and executed as one consistent whole, and no part of it was printed and published until the whole material from A to Z was assembled. More Useful Because More Systematic 4. Hitherto, at the beginning of the task of issuing the Ency clopaedia Britannica, the editor had immediately in view the publi cation of the first volume only, containing, perhaps, 600 articles. The inevitable tendency, therefore, was to take the corresponding volume of the previous edition as a basis and correct the articles so far as, viewed separately, they seemed to call for correc tion. In the present case, the editor had in view the issue, not of a single volume, but of the entire work, since the whole was to be published simultaneously. His first business, therefore, was to plan, with the assistance of his permanent editorial staff and his contributors in each department, how each individual subject-e .g ., English History, Chemistry, Religion-could best be, dealt with in a series of connected articles, each of which should give the reader precisely the information he requires under the heading to which he would naturally refer, while together they should form an exhaus tive treatment of the whole subject. The Perfected Instrument 5. The 11th edition, therefore, is no mere revision, but a new work foundedupon afresk survey. It is singularly easy of refer ence because, in every case, a separate article is accorded to the topic upon which the inquirer seeks information, whereas previously it was too often lost in an "omnibus" article of inordinate length. It is extraordinarily exhaustive, because these separate articles were not written independently and at haphazard, according to the exigencies of the alphabet and the particular volume in preparation but in pursuance of a well considered scheme planned to meet the demands of the whole subject. Whether he turn to its pages for the answer to a specific question or for enlightenment upon the whole of a great subject, the reader will find the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica more useful, more tiorouh, more interesting, than he could have imag ined possible in a work of such immense scope, or than he could have expected from his acquaintance with any other encyclopaedia whatever.