The end of an æra!

We’re sure it wasn’t the æ that did it but Enclopædia Brittanica have announced, via their blog,  that they are discontinuing their print version after 244 years. In future they will be 100% digital.

Whilst comparisons are odious here are two versions of their history:

and to be fair here are the two Wikipedia entries:

Their trademarks include the thistle as well as Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Macropædia, Micropædia, and Propædia.

Volume US sales peaked after World War II at around 120,000 per annum.  At one time the full volumes (currently 32) cost over $1,300 but now an annual subscription is around $70 (£50 in the UK).  You can also currently get a 3 volume replica set of the 1768 version for £69.

Britannica have announced that for the next week from yesterday online access is free.

From a very brief run around their site we found navigation not particularly easy (again attempting to be even handed this maybe partially due to the fact that we are very used to Wikipedia). The site monetisation/ads we found excessive.

Content is where historically it has excelled.

Britannica is on:

 Update 3pm GMT – Couple of Britannica infographics from their blog

Click to enlarge

We have no affiliate marketing arrangements with Britannica.

Meeting the needs of the engaged minority

The next phase of the Government’s GOV.uk  beta site – Inside Government – went live a couple of days ago.

Its purpose/content in their own words:

“This is the place where, in future, people who are personally or professionally interested in the business of government will be able to research how government works and see what it is doing.” Neil Williams – Project Manager at Government Digital Service (GDS)

There are, at this stage, ten Government Departments who have, and are, providing updates for an experimental period of six weeks. It’s described as a live test of a publishing system.

The participating Departments  are (with links, to both the – beta Inside Government -  site and the current official site for comparative purposes):

Whilst it’s still pretty embryonic and currently regarded as “even more early stage than the rest of it” the potential of the UK and the world section is evident. It could be of enormous benefit, we feel, particularly if  more fact based.

A couple of trivia points:

1. The background image sort of slices Scotland in half and almost highlights Ireland!

2. On the terminology front we have a dislike for abbreviations and in support of simplicity would love to see a move towards, Communities, Business, Foreign, Aid, Revenue, Justice, Defence, Health, Environment and Cabinet. Some of the Departments even have logos of their initials. At a practical level if you search on MOJ on the main site it tells you it “… can’t find any results”. At a cheap shot level GDS is also used “elsewhere” to abbreviate the  Government Decontamination Service. Now we wouldn’t want to see the two GDS’s getting mixed up would we!

The development is described as being good for the taxpayer. The system can be used for free by Local Government and other Nations.

We’re pretty impressed and like Martha Lane Fox would encourage you to pay it at least a visit and engage if you’re in this minority which, we think, could be a significant one.

National broadcasters workers discuss bosses pay increases

The Incomes Data Services (IDS) press release concerning their recently published IDS Directors’ Pay Report 2011  does not include the word boss (or bosses).

The report concerns the change in earnings of the FTSE 100 constituent companies directors in the last financial year. The word director (or directors) occurs 12 times in the release.

Why did our national broadcaster choose to substitute the word boss (or bosses) for director (or directors) in their news reports today?

In the comments please

The IDS report can be purchased here