Author: Michael Upshall (Page 1 of 3)

The Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought (1977)

That word “modern”, of course, always raises problems. As soon as you label a book as “modern” it appears outdated very quickly. So the Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought, first published 1977, now looks very dated. Nonetheless, a title that survived three editions (1977, …

How Research could be navigated

Following the review in my last post of the report “Navigating Research”, here is a follow-up post to take the findings of the study and then to make some recommendations. The key question is: what is the place for reference in the browser world?

In …

Navigating Research

Navigating Research” is the name for an impressively large-scale report that sounds from the title as a study of how users find academic content. On reading the subtitle, and the main conclusions of the report, its real focus emerges. The subtitle is “how …

Marketing Encyclopedia Britannica

I was in a second-hand bookshop the other day, and there was a small multivolume encyclopedia piled in the corner. Probably nobody had looked in that corner for months, and quite right too. Who needs an out-of-date encyclopedia?

Yet what was out of date about …

The Innocence of Wikipedians

Perhaps it is the innocence of Jimmy Whale,  Wikipedia’s founder, or perhaps it is an innocence shared by all the Wikipedia editors. Either way, Wikipedia is surrounded by a sweet optimism that is at odds with the reality of the actual articles. Yesterday the Financial …

Will Wikipedia ever get their facts right?

Editing Wikipedia appears to some (including me) to be an endless road – it goes on and on, and is never concluded. And that doesn’t mean it gets better – even when highly experienced Wikipedia editors are on the case. Here is an example.…

How not to find things with Pevsner

Pevsner Bedfordshire cover

I hesitate to criticize Pevsner’s Buildings of England series; I have used the books with immense pleasure for many years. Pevsner appears not only to have seen everything, but to have an informed and perceptive (and often pointed ) comment about what he sees. However, …

Histropedia – a new way to visualize history?

Histropedia is a site that enables you to create timelines from Wikipedia entries.  According to the two founders of Histropedia (a very klunky name, which makes me think of histrionics), it is “a new type of website that will transform the way we visualise history”. …

How taxonomy becomes political

A recent book on Alfred Kinsey (Donna Drucker, The Classification of Sex, University of Pittsburgh Press) describes Kinsey’s great innovation as taxonomic.

By ordering individuals on a scale of 0-6 instead of a heterosexual-bisexual-homosexual triad model (or even a binary heterosexual-homosexual model), Kinsey shifted

A Brief History of Encyclopaedias – too brief, and not brief enough

Andrew Brown: A Brief History of Encyclopaedias

(Hesperus, 2011)

Anyone who includes spoof encyclopedia titles on the book cover (A Complete Guide to Dysslexia), and starts a book about encyclopedias with a joke can’t be entirely dismissed. Andrew Brown starts his book as …

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