This week The Encyclopedia Britannia revealed that it would cease publishing the print version and restrict itself to the online version which now generates over 80% of it’s profits.
To those of us over 40 year olds this is a sad day. It wasn’t just that these fact checked volumes were a useful source of information for those omnibus school projects often they were the ONLY source.
It was an apt week for this news as one of my friends had posted a photograph of his daughter’s Wikipedia sourced homework on Charles Dickens which contained some very choice and errant facts. As amusing as it was, only good parenting, prevented the errors gaining wider currency.
In the digital space facts have a beginning, a middle and then an elastic life. In the real world facts are facts. When I get a chance I’m going to look at the EB online and see how robust it is. Hopefully very. We need to base our actions on foundations that are fact checked not on the bias of amateurs.
The same goes for business decisions. It’s all too easy to be semi-informed. Sounding like an expert when your facts are simply an expression of your own prejudices and what you’ve gleaned in the inflight magazine or the person to your left at dinner. (Or for that matter – this blog !).