Purpose – To examine past, current, and future usage of encyclopedias.
Design/methodology/approach – Review the history of encyclopedias, their composition, and usage by focusing on select publications covering different subject areas.
Findings – Due to their static nature, traditionally published encyclopedias are not always accurate, objective information resources. Intentions of editors and authors also come into question. A researcher may find more value in using encyclopedias as historical documents rather than resources for quick facts.
Practical Implications—Academic librarians may begin to invest more selectively in encyclopedias, whether in print or electronic format, and market them differently to students and faculty.
Originality/value – This article explores the academic value of encyclopedias in the 21st century.
Wexelbaum, Rachel S., "Are Encyclopedias Dead? Evaluating the Usefulness of a Traditional Reference Resource" (2012). Library Faculty Publications. 26.