Addicted to novelty since 2001

Boy Discovers Facts From Real World

Here and elsewhere, there’s been much discussion about the emerging authority of Wikipedia. As it turns out, even the venerated Encyclopaedia Britannica is hardly error-free. A 12-year-old English kid demonstrates:

Lucian George, 12, a pupil at Highgate Junior School in North London, was delving into the volumes on Poland and wildlife in Central Europe when he noted the mistakes. The first was the assertion by the internationally acclaimed reference book that the small town of Chochim, in which two battles were fought between the Poles and the Ottoman Empire, now lies in Moldova.

What’s remarkable is that he didn’t detect these errors using the Internet or another reference book. It’s apparently because his grandfather fought in World War II, and he spends a month in Poland each summer.

I still have a great fondness for Encyclopaedia Britannica. When I was young, I’d take a volume with me when we’d go on car trips. Once my brother and I got in a fight, and ripped the title page of the ‘K’ edition.

Hang on, now that I think about it, we actually had World Book encyclopedias. Well, the anecdote still applies.

7 Responses to “Boy Discovers Facts From Real World”

  1. Olaf

    I had the World Book Encyclopedia too. I remember fondly (not fondling – well a little) the many small volumes from the late 70’s. They took up the entire lower shelf on my bookshelf. I always thought it was strange that “W-X-Y-Z” only took one book, while other letters (‘S’ maybe?) took two. To this day, I still use World Book’s alphabetical groupings for things like font folders.

  2. Sue

    My parents never sprung for the World Book encyclopedias, but they did get the Canadian Encyclopedia. It was somewhat less useful as an actual reference book, but the pictures were interesting.

    I like Wikipedia. It’s not always accurate, but it’s usually interesting. The concept of a collaborative encyclopedia fascinates me.

  3. Andrea

    We had Encyclopedia Britannica, which came with a children’s edition. The kids’ version was basically a non-fiction storybook, so my parents read it to us. As a result, I developed an early appreciation for Dali and Van Gogh. As I grew older, I turned to the grown-up Britannica and the annual update volumes we received. My family didn’t have much money, but I’m glad my parents were somehow able to scrape together money for the books. They had a huge influence on my academic skills and intellectual development in a town where such things were frowned upon.

  4. sxKitten

    My grandparents had a set of World Book encyclopedias circa 1920. There was a French lesson every 20 pages, and I can still remember the section on the moon, which talked about its atmosphere.

    Oh yeah, and the chemistry section described a mysterious ‘gas’ given off by elements like uranium.

  5. Rachel

    I did the same thing with Childcraft. :)My favorite one was volume 14, I think. It was about the body and it had a clear sheet with body outlines of a boy and girl; you could put the clear page on the top of several other pages that showed muscles or bones or internal organs, etc. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to advance to the REAL encyclopedia my parents divorced and I guess my education was no longer top priority. ;)

  6. Ray

    I offered my Dad’s old set of Encyclopedia Brittanica to the local small-town library.

    The woman I spoke to just wrinkled her nose and pointed to their three terminals. “Internet”.

    She said they don’t have any value and suggested I dump them in the blue bins. Data gets old the minute it’s published. Yet, there’s a novelty in looking through them.

    I was surprised they didn’t have any value as a comparative study guide. I guess there’s no room in a tight education budget for teaching students about the differences between printed information retrieval and Internet info retrieval.

    To the bins they go!

  7. sxKitten

    After posting on Thursday, I went to eBay, curious to see if anyone was trying to unload old encyclopedias. As of 4:19 today, I’m the proud owner of the complete 1928 World Book.

    By odd coincidence, the US seller lives just across the line from me (I’m in Aldergrove)and works in Langley, so he’s going to drop the books of on Tuesday.

    Best 20 bucks I ever spent! And it’s all thanks to you :-)

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