the demise of the encyclopaedia

For me, this proved itself when I entered the title … encyclopedia … I can’t even spell it properly. Strange perhaps, but they have been on my mind lately. When we were young we had a white and blue set that took pride of place on the bottom shelf of the lounge bookcase.

Each time a teacher gave us a school project, the first place to start would be the encyclopaedia. The length of the project would depend on two factors. First was how much information I could extract from an encyclopaedia, dictionary, or atlas. And second was how many relevant pictures I could find in magazines, travel brochures, readers digest booklets, or newspapers. (back then pictures could make or break a project).

But now Google, Wikipedia, HowStuffWorks, and Infoplease gives people instant ways to source information and never again will a teacher have to read homogeneous school assignments. In fact, if my law study is anything to go by, by using the right words you can turn your reasoning around to support whatever conclusion you need it to be.

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