The Rolls Royce of the library reference collection

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'The Rolls Royce of the library reference collection': The subject encyclopedia in the age of Wikipedia
Authors: John W. East [edit item]
Citation: Reference and User Services Quarterly 50 (2): 162-169. 2010 December. American Library Association.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
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Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: No but verified
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'The Rolls Royce of the library reference collection': The subject encyclopedia in the age of Wikipedia is a publication by John W. East.


[edit] Abstract

This paper reviews the development of the subject encyclopedia as an information resource and evaluates its present role, with particular focus on the academic library. The paper looks especially at online subject encyclopedias and the extent to which academic libraries are facilitating and promoting access to these resources.

[edit] Research questions

""The aim of this paper is to briefly review the subject encyclopedia’s development as an information resource and to evaluate its present role, with particular focus on the academic library. This paper will look also at the question of online access to subject encyclopedias and the extent to which academic libraries are facilitating and promoting access to these resources." (p. 162)

"Are subject encyclopedias still an important resource?" (p. 162)"

Research details

Topics: Encyclopedias, Knowledge source for scholars and librarians [edit item]
Domains: Information science, Knowledge management, Library science [edit item]
Theory type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Other [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Conceptual [edit item]
Data source: N/A [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: N/A [edit item]
Unit of analysis: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

""Does the subject encyclopedia have a future? If it does, the future is surely online; but do online encyclopedias even have a future? Perhaps the real question is this: will today’s students use encyclopedias? Or, to rephrase that question, does the term “encyclopedia” as a brand mean anything to Generation Y? Twenty years ago, all students coming to university had used encyclopedias— perhaps a set that proudly stood on its own shelves in the family living room, or else a set in the school or public library. The students understood and valued what an encyclopedia could do. If the concept of an encyclopedia still means anything to undergraduates today, then ironically this may be because of the much maligned Wikipedia, which has kept alive the model of a comprehensive information source divided into discrete articles written by different authors and providing a clear overview of specific topics, often with a list of further readings. If we think that our students still understand and value the encyclopedia as an information resource (and this is a question that probably merits further research), then why are we not promoting our encyclopedias more prominently on our websites? If we believe that subject encyclopedias have a future, and if we plan to continue spending large sums to buy them (in the sure and certain knowledge that publishers will keep producing them as long as libraries keep buying them), then we have to do more to facilitate and promote access to these valuable and expensive resources. To be used, they must be online. But being online is not enough: they must be easily findable and ideally cross-searchable so that we can leverage the variety of content and viewpoint in our entire electronic encyclopedia collection. It is only in this way that our encyclopedias can hope to provide a viable competitor (or complement) to Wikipedia. The alternative is to accept that the encyclopedia no longer has a place in today’s information environment. There are librarians who seem to have already reached that conclusion, if one is to judge from some of the subject pathfinders on library websites. Perhaps they are right. Ten years hence, the subject encyclopedia may be just another mythical creature from the distant past of reference work, along with printed journal indexes, telephone directories, and looseleaf news digests. If so, Bill Katz will be turning in his grave." (p. 168)"

[edit] Comments


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "The Rolls Royce of the library reference collection"RDF feed
AbstractThis paper reviews the development of the This paper reviews the development of the subject encyclopedia as an information resource and evaluates its present role, with particular focus on the academic library. The paper looks especially at online subject encyclopedias and the extent to which academic libraries are facilitating and promoting access to these resources.g and promoting access to these resources.
Added by wikilit teamNo but verified +
Collected data time dimensionN/A +
Conclusion"Does the subject encyclopedia have a futu"Does the subject encyclopedia have a future? If

it does, the future is surely online; but do online encyclopedias even have a future? Perhaps the real question is this: will today’s students use encyclopedias? Or, to rephrase that question, does the term “encyclopedia” as a brand mean anything to Generation Y? Twenty years ago, all students coming to university had used encyclopedias— perhaps a set that proudly stood on its own shelves in the family living room, or else a set in the school or public library. The students understood and valued what an encyclopedia could do. If the concept of an encyclopedia still means anything to undergraduates today, then ironically this may be because of the much maligned Wikipedia, which has kept alive the model of a comprehensive information source divided into discrete articles written by different authors and providing a clear overview of specific topics, often with a list of further readings. If we think that our students still understand and value the encyclopedia as an information resource (and this is a question that probably merits further research), then why are we not promoting our encyclopedias more prominently on our websites? If we believe that subject encyclopedias have a future, and if we plan to continue spending large sums to buy them (in the sure and certain knowledge that publishers will keep producing them as long as libraries keep buying them), then we have to do more to facilitate and promote access to these valuable and expensive resources. To be used, they must be online. But being online is not enough: they must be easily findable and ideally cross-searchable so that we can leverage the variety of content and viewpoint in our entire electronic encyclopedia collection. It is only in this way that our encyclopedias can hope to provide a viable competitor (or complement) to Wikipedia. The alternative is to accept that the encyclopedia no longer has a place in today’s information environment. There are librarians who seem to have already reached that conclusion, if one is to judge from some of the subject pathfinders on library websites. Perhaps they are right. Ten years hence, the subject encyclopedia may be just another mythical creature from the distant past of reference work, along with printed journal indexes, telephone directories, and looseleaf news digests.

If so, Bill Katz will be turning in his grave." (p. 168)
tz will be turning in his grave." (p. 168)
Data sourceN/A +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22%27The%2BRolls%2BRoyce%2Bof%2Bthe%2Blibrary%2Breference%2Bcollection%27%3A%2BThe%2Bsubject%2Bencyclopedia%2Bin%2Bthe%2Bage%2Bof%2BWikipedia%22 +
Has authorJohn W. East +
Has domainInformation science +, Knowledge management + and Library science +
Has topicEncyclopedias + and Knowledge source for scholars and librarians +
Issue2 +
MonthDecember +
Pages162-169 +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inReference and User Services Quarterly +
PublisherAmerican Library Association +
Research designConceptual +
Research questions"The aim of this paper is to briefly

revie"The aim of this paper is to briefly review the subject encyclopedia’s development as an information resource and to evaluate its present role, with particular focus on the academic library. This paper will look also at the question of online access to subject encyclopedias and the extent to which academic libraries are facilitating and promoting access to these resources." (p. 162)

"Are subject encyclopedias still an important resource?" (p. 162)ias still an important resource?" (p. 162)
Revid10,960 +
TheoriesUndetermined
Theory typeN/A +
Title'The Rolls Royce of the library reference collection': The subject encyclopedia in the age of Wikipedia
Unit of analysisN/A +
Urlhttp://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:226449 +
Volume50 +
Wikipedia coverageOther +
Wikipedia data extractionN/A +
Wikipedia languageNot specified +
Wikipedia page typeN/A +
Year2010 +