(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica

“The Encyclopedia – the advance artillery of reason, the armada of philosophy, the siege engine of the enlightenment”…



Encyclopædia Britannica occupies a special place in the annals of publishing and the history of the West. Although its full influence, like that of any great work of literature, is ultimately immeasurable in concrete terms (the number of units sold is never the best barometer), its larger social and cultural impact—as a reference work, a spark to learning, a symbol of aspiration, a recorder of evolving knowledge, and a mirror of our changing times—has been extraordinary…

From George Bernard Shaw to Keith Richards, a few of Encyclopædia Britannica’s famous readers– and their fascinating tales– on the occasion of its 250th anniversary: “Encyclopedia Hounds.”

* Peter Prange


As we look it up, we might we might recall that it was on this date in 2007 that Apple released the first iPhone….  the device that ushered in the smartphone and that, with Wikipedia (which dates from 2001), contributed to the decline of Encyclopædia Britannica, which ceased print publication in 2012.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 29, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Because the world is radically new, the ideal encyclopedia should be radical, too”*…

The current edition of The Encyclopaedia Britannica runs to 32 volumes of about 1,375,000 words per volume– 44 million words in all.  Wikipedia currently contains 2,537 million words across 4.3 million articles, the equivalent of over 1,900 volumes of Britannica.

 click here for larger (and constantly-updated) version

* Charles Van Doren (1962)


As we appreciate the prescience of Douglas Adams, we might send well-organized birthday greetings to Arnold Neustadter; he was born on this date in 1910.  A businessman with a flare for invention, Neustadter created the Autodex, a spring-operated phone directory that automatically opened to the selected letter, Swivodex, an inkwell that did not spill, Punchodex, a paper hole puncher, and Clipodex, a transcription aid that attached to a stenographer’s knee.  But his masterwork, created in 1956 with Hildaur Neilsen, was the rotary contact file, the Rolodex.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

The Art of Drawing Science…

Horse Anatomy
From: Anatomia del cavallo, infermità e suoi rimedi by Carlo Ruini, Published in Venice, 1618.

Many more lovely lessons at Scientific Illustration.

As we sharpen our pencils, we might wish a feathery farewell to zoologist Alfred Newton; he died on this date in 1907.  One of the foremost ornithologists of his day, he was appointed (in 1866) the first Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at Cambridge University. Though he suffered from injured hip joints and walked with the aid of two sticks, he traveled throughout Lapland, Iceland, the West Indies, and North America 1854-63.  During these expeditions he became particularly interested in the great auk– and was instrumental in having the first Acts of Parliament passed for the protection of birds.  He wrote extensively, including a four-volume Dictionary of Birds, and the articles on Ornithology in several 19th century editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.



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