J to L

The seventh of fourteen volumes of the Historic Encyclopedia of Switzerland (HLS) has just appeared - yes, they keep printing encyclopedias on dead trees. But it's all good - the full text of all articles is available simultaneously in German, French and Italian (and partially in Romansh, too!) and can be referenced directly. No pictures, though; strangely, they are reserved to the print edition. 

As an example, here's the article about eminent historian Jacob Burckhardt (1000 words), and here it is in the Wikipedia edition (1438 words, 2 pictures plus a number of links, among others to the HLS article). For good measure, Britannica invests 1791 words. True, the number of words is not relevant: I prefer an efficient (terse?) text over a verbose one any day, but why they would use quite so many abbreviations in the HLS is beyond me. I prefer the Wikipedia article for its more comprehensive overview of Burckhardt, whereas the HLS shines on the substance of Burckhardt's work. It's a pity, though, that the editors haven't recognised that printed encyclopedias are definitely a thing of the past. Yet, their key remit is to produce a printed encyclopedia. But then again, they are historians for a reason ...

1 comment:

Smaran said...

Might prove useful if we touch on schweizerische Geschichte again in college, which I'm sure we will (der deutsche Sprachraum ist relativ klein).