Submitter: I am librarian of a small K-12 private school in the Persian Gulf. I have been working there for one year. This spring, I finally took on our terribly out-of-date reference collection. It was bad enough that we had 30-year old science encyclopedias, but a 1946 encyclopedia? And why do we have only one volume? Quick perusal confirmed that this volume went to press before Germany’s surrender in May of 1945: “Austria, from Nov. 1918 to March 15, 1938, was a Federal Republic…” when it was added to “Greater Germany.” Former Austrian territory is currently divided into seven administrative districts, each governed by “the Gauleiter, or Leader of the Nazi Party, for his district.”
Our school is located on the Arabian Peninsula, so “Arabia” is an entry of considerable interest for us. This begins with four full pages on the topic of “Exploration” (i.e., European and American travelers.)
The entry on aviation is fascinating. Why, there’s even one air field in the state of Missouri! According to the text, “Almost 100% regularity in flying to a published timetable is claimed for certain European air lines operating during summer weather… American international lines likewise approach 100% achievement of schedules.” Obviously, this was before either O’Hare or Heathrow was built! Note that the map on p. 805 shows both aeroplane and zeppelin routes!
I find this volume simply fascinating. It does not, however, belong in my school’s reference collection–or in the library at all.
Holly: These are fun to look at, but one volume of Britannica from ANY year is questionable. Even Wikipedia is preferable to this. (No disrespect to Wikipedia – it’s a great starting point for most subjects!)
More Old-Timey Reference: