death of Encarta

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Death Of Encarta

Xah Lee, 2010-02-11

Just learned today that Microsoft's encyclopedia, Encarta, is dead. Microsoft announced its demise in 2009. The announcement at Microsoft site is already a dead link. You can see second hand reports, e.g. at: arstechnica.com.

This is surprising because even just a few years ago, in the mid 2000s, Encarta and Britanica both belittle Wikipedia, and started to have public editing to their encyclopedias to compete with the annoying Wikipedia.

In hindsight, death of Encarta is written on the wall of course. Whatever quality and expert material in Encarta, the Wikipedia fuckheads will grab the gist, reword it, and it becomes part of Wikipedia with a citation link. That is the nature of the internet, and there is no copyright on knowledge. The death of Encarta does not mean Wikipedia won. If something won, it is the communication technology revolution, the digital age, the info age.

Although i haven't seen formal reports or studies, but today, the info on internet probably surpassed the info in world's brick-and-mortar libraries combined (counting only modern texts of the past 2 hundred years, not counting acient texts or artifacts). Note that Google, Amazon, Microsoft all have major projects that digitize books. (See: Google books, Digital library)

Some tech geeking idiots may sigh, about how quality expert info is replaced by the bloggy internet. Note that it is not that quality info or experts are gone. It's just that they switched to a media that is far more efficient and effective in distributing info. For example, say the various esoteric math fields of the esoteric mathematicians. In the past, they publish thru esoteric printed journals and write articles for Britanica. Today, if you want to see the handful of the world's top mathematician's thoughts and opinions or their research findings, you go to their home pages or blogs, which contain info that's too slow to be published in print. Esoteric math printed journals are still around, but their days are numbered.

(Note that the Wikipedia article on Encarta was largely written by me in its early days. It is when, the Wikipedia fuckheads, all they have to say on Encarta was that Microsoft sucks blood and it is lousy in comparsion to Wikipedia. See my first edit, of 2003-11 here: Source)

It is interesting to see when Britanica will quit.

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