The End of the Era of printed Encyclopedia Britannica
Yesterday post the announcement from Encyclopaedia Britannica, my facebook group page was inundated with numerous messages from fellow Britannicans; some ruing the passing of an era, some sharing nostalgia and yet others simply “liking” the comments, but most of us acknowledging the news and expressing our presence. Change is, as we all know and keep repeating, the only thing constant in the world and actually as sure to come about as taxes and death.
Ok so the background is I worked with EB in New Delhi, and am so proud of it in a collars up kind of a manner.I am all for change if it is for the better of course or to keep up with the times. I do also get nostalgic at times but not in the “Arrey humara zamana acha tha, humare gaane ache the, humara yeh or humara who.” But well if this post is not about nostalgia, what is?
So well…humare zamane main Britannica office had been a bright spot of sunshine. It meant many a things to be working with this iconic giant. Besides ofcourse the feeling of being associated with this giant powerhouse of knowledge and information, the bunch of people working here were all young, energetic and from various professional fields. The thumb rule was “meet the deadlines” and after that “chase the happy” and that’s what my gang used to do. What with an in-house gym, lovely terrace to sip those endless cups of coffee, a table tennis area and a baddy court. Britannica also gave me the much needed perspective in life that I had lost after a personal tragedy, it was just what the doctor had ordered. Britannica gave me friends to last a lifetime and memories to keep me warm.
The news transported me a decade back when I was working with them. I remember the remark of a visiting senior who said that in his days they saved salaries for years to buy a set of EB whereas these days it is so easily available as a soft copy version. The decision to “Stop Press” makes sense. It makes sense to understand the pulse of the times and move with it. The change is progressive. It is logical. And it is most welcome.