There are a number of admirable qualities one could use when describing the Encyclopaedia Britannica, but ‘pocket-sized’ probably wouldn’t be one of them.
That was up until now, as the eminent encyclopaedia has announced that it will discontinue its 244 year history with the printed format and focus instead on its digital future; culminating in the release of the Encyclopaedia Britannica mobile app.
The encyclopaedia’s longevity is testament to the esteem in which the work is held around the world, with bound volumes of the almanac adorning bookshelves everywhere. But in the age of digitalization, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, like everything else has had to move with times and use new medium to entice new audiences. Selling mobile apps of their world-renowned fact-catalogue is the latest step in Britannica’s modernisation.
The app itself will be free, although consumers will have to pay for full access to the encyclopaedia including all its links and resources. The first 100 words of every article will be made available for no charge, so if you’re after a fleeting glimpse into the theory of evolution or quantum mechanics; then you’re in luck, if, however, you’re after a bit more depth, you will have to stump up for the full versions of each entry.
The naysayers will bellow from the rooftops that sites such as Wikipedia are free and offer the same breadth of information as the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In riposte, fans of the encyclopaedia will point to the unchecked inaccuracies of Wikipedia which has spoiled many a promising homework assignment. Expertly curated content comes at a price, it would seem.
This downloadable app is available on iTunes now.