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The Longest Now

Britannica goes digital: the 2010 Edition will be the last
Wednesday March 14th 2012, 12:13 am
Filed under: %a la mod,fly-by-wire,indescribable

Quoth Editor-in-Chief Dale Hoiberg:

In 1994 we launched the first encyclopedia on the Internet. Today, with the end of the Britannica print set, we complete the transition from print to digital. Although we continue to produce some high-quality print products, Britannica is proudly in the digital camp.

They highlight some of their digital milestones, though they don’t point out the amazing plans around 1994 (not implemented) for a futuristic visualization of knowledge and automatic citation hyperlinks – called Mortimer in honor of legendary EB editor-in-chief and author of the Syntopicon, Mortimer Adler – to complement Britannica Online and make it a central part of the fledgling Web.

Those links are drawn from Bob McHenry’s lovely “The Building of Britannica Online“. Rereading it I note I need to update my essay on disambiguation, as he uses it here in 2003 not two years after it was first used casually on Wikipedia; so I assume that it was in already in regular use in encyclopedic and authority-file contexts in 2001.

2020 update: Bob’s site is now offline, alas.  I’ve rerouted links above to the Wayback Machine; unfortunately some of the images of EBO are lost as a result.  Hopefully others who worked on the project can provide them for archival purposes. I also note Bob describes this zoomable exploration as ‘underlay[ing] the third of the imagined extensions of Britannica Online, the notion of Gateway Britannica‘ !]

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