World Book Encyclopedia

World Book Encyclopedia

The "World Book Encyclopedia" is, according to its publisher in the United States, "the number-one selling print encyclopedia in the world." [ [ "About World Book."] Accessed 24 June 2008.] The encyclopedia's coverage is uniformly apportioned among the major areas of knowledge, it is particularly strong in scientific, technical, and medical subjects.cite web|url=|title=Encyclopedias in English and Other Languages|publisher=Library Research Guides. Indiana University] The "World Book Encyclopedia" is considered to be one of the finest general encyclopedias on the market today. It is based in Chicago, Illinois. The first edition (1917) contained eight volumes. New editions have since appeared every year except 1920, 1924, and 1932, with major revisions in 1930(13 volumes), 1947 (18,000 illustrations), 1960 (20 volumes), and 1988. [Kobasa, Paul A. "Encyclopedia." World Book Online Reference Center. 2008. [Place of access.] 13 Jan. 2008 ]

World Book, Inc., is a subsidiary of the Scott Fetzer Company, which is in turn a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary.


Over the years the "World Book" has been characterized by its populist design. Unlike most other encyclopedias, it has traditionally published in nonuniform volumes sized to match the letters of the alphabet. Although most volumes cover exactly one letter completely, each letter with exceptionally numerous entries ("C" and "S") is divided between two volumes, while adjacent letters with relatively few entries ("J"–"K", "N"–"O", "Q"–"R", "U"–"V", and "W"–"Z") share a volume. "World Book" editors lay out major articles distinctly, often starting them on a page of their own, perhaps with a two-column heading. The "World Book" is marketed as a "family" encyclopedia for readers above 15 years of age. [] It recognizes that one of the primary uses of general-purpose encyclopedias is student's work on school reports. For instance, every article for a U.S. state has a box giving information such as the official state bird and tree.

It claims to be the most up-to-date commercial encyclopedia, with thirty-three percent of its pages revised each year. [] Illustrations account for about one third of the layout, and some eighty percent are in color. Its cross-references are very extensive as well, and an exhaustive (more than 150,000 entries) analytical index ensures easy access to the contents of the set. [Scott Kennedy, "Reference Sources for Small and Medium-sized Libraries" (1999) p. 27.]

Alternative editions

In 1961, World Book produced a braille edition, which filled 145 volumes and nearly 40,000 pages. The project was mainly an effort in goodwill, for there was no expectation of selling enough copies of the set to cover production costs. Eventually, all sets of the Braille edition were donated to several institutions for the blind. In 1964, the company also published a large-print edition. [Foster Stockwell, "A History of Information Storage and Retrieval" (2001) p. 137.]

An electronic version of the encyclopedia for Macintosh and Windows computers first appeared in 1990, but didn't have as much impact as the only other CD-ROM encyclopedia available at that time, "Academic American Encyclopedia".

An international version, aimed at English-speakers outside of North America, was also produced in 1992.

Since 1998, in addition to the print and CD-ROM editions of the 22-volume, 13,800-page encyclopedia, World Book also publishes an online version called the World Book Online Reference Center. [ [ World Book ] ] The online version includes all of the articles contained in the print set as well as several thousand additional articles and the contents of every yearbook World Book has published since 1922.

Digital multimedia encyclopedia

"World Book Encyclopedia" is also published in electronic form for Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac OS X. Electronic editions contain the entire text of the 22-volume "World Book Encyclopedia", plus illustrations, video clips, 3D panoramic views, and sounds. The articles bring together a complete story, multimedia content, an article outline, research aids and links to related information. Online updates to articles and Month in Brief time browser are available by subscription.

Apple until recently bundled a copy of the Mac OS X Edition of "World Book Encyclopedia" with every consumer-level computer soldFact|date=July 2008. This edition has some Mac-only features including a more intuitive user interface, Sticky Notes sharing via Bonjour technology, Trivia Challenge game, collection of editor-approved webcams, Notepad, Speech capabilities, "This Day in History", "Media Showcase" and "Librarian" widgets.

Since November 2007, both Windows and Mac electronic editions of World Book encyclopedia are developed and published by Software MacKiev.

Associated publishing projects

Other World Book products include:
*"The World Book Dictionary" (1st edition in 1963)
*"The World Book Student Discovery Encyclopedia,"an encyclopedia for younger students (since 1999)
*"World Book's Animals of the World".
*"Our Living World of Nature" book series; Developed with the U.S. Department of the Interior, published by McGraw-Hill (1967)

ee also

*List of online encyclopedias


External links

* [ World Book Encyclopedia website]
* [ World Book Online]
* [ Electronic editions of World Book Encyclopedia] on the Software MacKiev's website

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