Kraks Blå Bog

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Kraks Blå Bog ("Krak's Blue Book") is the Who's Who of Denmark. The first edition was published in 1910 by Ove Krak and included 3,000 "life stories",[1] while the 2009/2010 centennial edition contains life stories of 8127 living Danish, Faroe Island and Greenland women and men.[2] Including the 280 new life stories in the 2009/2010 edition altogether 19,874 people have been listed since the first edition. The centennial edition includes a list of all present and previous names listed.[3]

According to the publisher the mission of Kraks Blå Bog remains the same through all editions; to "Include [...] men and women, whose life story could have an interest for a wider public."[4] Selection is for life, except for people who commit certain crimes, which may lead to their deletion at the discretion of the publisher. People can also have their life stories "retired" if they become increasingly invisible in public life. Here the life story is shorted to a few lines with a reference to the last edition with a full life story.[5]

The preface to the first edition included a direct reference to the British Edition of Who's Who and notes that the concept had been copied in a number of other countries. It also stresses that the publisher prefers the term "Life stories" to "Biographies" which according to the publisher is more subjective.[6]

Selection criteria

Kraks Blå Bog is regarded as highly authoritative. The members of the selection committee are generally not publicly known, there is no obligation to buy the book in order to be included and there is no way to pay to be included. Still, anyone is welcome to write the publisher and suggest people to be included. A main criteria has always been that the people included should have the potential to make "lasting" contributions to Danish society. For many years this excluded people such as sports stars, while holders of certain public positions such as Generals, Ambassadors etc. always were included.[7] This has gradually changed and there are very few positions such as members of the Royal Family (which are included in a separate chapter) that automatically qualify for a "life story."[8]

Men have dominated the listings since the first edition. In the 2004 edition 12% were women, however 24% of all new life stories published were of women.[9]

Critique

As in many other countries the concept of having a book with a strong focus on the ruling elite has led to many controversies. These include the low number of women listed,[10] people who do not want to be included or demand to be included, people removed from the listings because of certain criminal acts and the difficulties of publishing Kraks Blå Bog during and after Germany occupied Denmark during Second World War.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kraks Blå Bog 2009-2010 p. 7, 2009 Gads Forlag A/S, ISBN 978-87-12-04438-3.
  2. ^ Kraks Blå Bog 2009-2010 p. 1, 2009 Gads Forlag A/S, ISBN 978-87-12-04438-3.
  3. ^ Kraks Blå Bog 2009-2010 p. 5, 2009 Gads Forlag A/S, ISBN 978-87-12-04438-3.
  4. ^ Kraks Blå Bog 2009-2010 p. 5, 2009 Gads Forlag A/S, ISBN 978-87-12-04438-3.
  5. ^ Kraks Blå Bog 2009-2010 p. 15 and p. 18, 2009 Gads Forlag A/S, ISBN 978-87-12-04438-3.
  6. ^ Kraks Blå Bog 2009-2010 p. 7, 2009 Gads Forlag A/S, ISBN 978-87-12-04438-3.
  7. ^ "Jyllands Posten", May 28, 2004
  8. ^ Kraks Blå Bog 2009-2010 p. 65, 2009 Gads Forlag A/S, ISBN 978-87-12-04438-3.
  9. ^ "Jyllands Posten", May 28, 2004
  10. ^ "Fyns Social Demokrat", September 2, 1956
  11. ^ Kraks Blå Bog 2009-2010 p. 38, 2009 Gads Forlag A/S, ISBN 978-87-12-04438-3.