Talk:Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition

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Referencing protocols and citing the Encyclopaedia Britannica[edit]

An observation for any interested editors, on the citing of Encyclopaedia Britannica, and a suggestion to resolve a burgeoning issue.

From my experiences of Wikipedia to date, I note that a number of articles have Encyclopaedia Britannica as their basis. For some articles this comprises the bulk of the text or even the entire article. For such articles, I typically see the following statment:

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Which arises from the following template:


The statement alone is fine enough when the entire content of the article comes from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, for clearly, 100% is attributable. But it is a statement of attribution, and once the article becomes less than 100% attributable to the EB, it is not a citation in any useful sense. At that point it starts to become a vague attribution, and moreso the more the article is developed away from the EB. Some - perhaps many - of you will already see where I'm going with this.

As we all know, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is often an excellent basis, especially for the static, historical component of articles, some of which is in need not of supplanting, but merely updating and supplementing, if that. However, as we also all know, with the exception of information for which we can do no better (especially, as far as I can tell, of historical nature for which facts haven't changed much if at all), it is not generally desirable to leave the article at that. Rather, especially for dynamic phenomena, meaning things which inevitably change in some fashion (even if it's primarily the understanding of underlying principles), or historical phenomena for which we have the benefit of new information, or better access to old information (or both), it is considered desirable to update the articles which were based originally on the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Hence the following type of templates found in some articles:

However, at this point, the problem of citation, or more accurately, lack of citation, arises. For as soon as we insert new text, and otherwise break up the text that originally came from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, we should commence using inline citations for the text that was from the EB. The reasons should be obvious, because they are the same as the need for any citation, from any source. So I'll not labour the point, other than to note that if we do not start using inline citations, we end up with articles containing orphaned sentences and paragraphs, for which the original source is not known. So we end up with a common-or-garden citation problem.

This is a potentially massive task, but I see that as no excuse for not chipping away at the problem. As far as I can tell, the easiest way to deal with this in the first instance is to create a reference to the volume from which the article, or the bulk of the article, came. The Balneotherapy article does this. It contains a link to an editable version of the EB, and I have added a link to a non-editable version, from the table helpfully placed in the EB article. The reason for that should be self-evident of course: a reader, or editor, should be able to check a version that is unambiguously the original.

Ideally, there should be a link to the exact page dealing with the topic of the article. I have been able to do this in the Hydrotherapy article, using the Internet Archive listings. But I find those listings currently difficult and time-consuming to search for the exact volume of a multi-volume work such as EB, so this is probably not going to be practical on a large scale in the short term. This brings us back to the task of simply citing the volume from which the text of a given article came.

This is a simple enough task, but tedious if left to one or two dedicated editors. But if each editor who cares something about these things makes a point of adding a citation to a mere few articles, the task should get done. So that is my suggestion, for what it's worth.Wotnow (talk) 01:50, 6 December 2009 (UTC)Wotnow

I have proposed substantial changes to {{1911}} template, although its handling of the current parameters will remain the same there will be new ones and there will be changes to the layout. Comment and opinions welcome at Template talk:1911# Proposal to replace code with a wrapper around cite encyclopedia -- PBS (talk) 06:57, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

What was the original sale price?[edit]

What was the original price for the 11th edition (or any other editions, for that matter) CreedShandor (talk) 01:16, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Women contributors not unprecedented[edit]

I have found one woman author, Flora Masson (1857-1837), who contributed the article on E.T.A. Hoffmann for the 9th edition. She is the daughter of David Masson and the sister of David Orme Masson. I have not inspected very many articles, and perhaps there are more women contributors. Bob Burkhardt (talk) 01:26, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

I also find Agnes Mary Clerke is listed as the author for the article on Alexander von Humboldt in the 9th edition as she was in the 11th edition. I have turned up about a half dozen women with a very brief and scattered perusal of the List of Contributors in v. 25. Well it seems something got garbled somewhere with this article's statement that “The 1911 edition for the first time included a number of female contributors . . .” Perhaps it was the 9th edition that took the first step. Bob Burkhardt (talk) 13:15, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

The article History of the Encyclopædia Britannica seems to have a more sensible discussion of this issue. Bob Burkhardt (talk) 17:59, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

As none seems to have reverted any edits you have made to this article, why not make a bold edit? If anyone objects by reverting the edit then discuss it. -- PBS (talk) 18:31, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I may if no one else gets around to it. I have my attention on other things at the moment, and I am not familiar with the sources in question. Was the hiring of women for unsigned articles new with the 11th edition? It may be the sources contradict each other, and the conflicting views of the various editions may be of interest. Perhaps the earlier editions were more progressive than given credit for. Perhaps the real contrast is in the number of articles written about women rather in the number written by them. I am not interested in copying over something that is not quite to the point and only less misleading, but I do think it is important to note the contradiction for now. Bob Burkhardt (talk) 18:53, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
But it is best not done with a large banner at the start of the article. Articles are meant to be about a subject not editor to editor comments -- that is why we have talk pages. Why not place a {{OR}} and {{citation needed}} next to the paragraph you are concerned about? -- PBS (talk) 14:23, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I have now been bold and converted the banner to an inline template. In view of this, I have to wonder if the ref was not originally purely for the number of female contributors, not the unprecedentedness of female contributors, in which case "for the first time" would indeed be in need of a separate citation and I would add OR and citation needed tags. Anyone have access to the source, to check what it really says? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 11:06, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

External links[edit]

From the edit history "why link to non-free/ad-supported/anything else when we have wikisource, archive, and gutenberg"?

Because the Internet archive has OCR problems (If it did not then the Wikisource 1911 porting project would have competed long ago) Gutenberg is not completed, when it is the argument will carry more weight. -- PBS (talk) 17:40, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
None of these edits are particularly bold, so why the wholesale dismissal?
  • WikiSource in external links is pretty standard as far as I've seen
  • the two external links between archive and gutenberg get lost (hence moving to the end)
  • collapsing is not to save bytes it's so that the two tables don't take up most of the article visually (readability)
  • you're saying the imperfections in the archive and incompleteness of gutenberg mean we need:
    • "Wikisource-logo.svg Full-page scans in TIFF format.," and
    • "Flash reader (Empanel) with full-page scans," and
    • "The JRank "Online Encyclopedia" includes original and contributed articles; the originals may have been edited and the collection is subject to a claimed copyright," and
    • "Encyclopædia Britannica 1911 unedited, html version, from scan/ocr of the original text, with interactive alphabetical index, and Google translation into Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Hindi, Arabic and Portuguese," and
    • "1911 Encyclopedia Britannica,  "Containing 35,820 entries cross-referenced and cross-linked to other resources on". "Copyright Statement[:] these [EB 1911] files are public domain"" ......??
These range from redundant copies to ad-supported redundant copies to even copyrighted work. --Rhododendrites (talk) 21:31, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You did not take both my edits into consideration so some of what you are asking has already been answered with my second edit. But to answer some of your comments about the other issues.

-- PBS (talk) 11:07, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

I took a look at category:Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with no article parameter‎ and did some edits (mainly while bored). Two questions:
  • Shouldn't the category be "...with no title parameter"? I made the comment on the talk page, but thought I'd repeat it here where it might get read.
  • Now I see a duplicative link in some cases. What's the preference: include both a Wikisource1911enc template and a wstitle parameter on the 1911 template (see Abbas I of Egypt), or remove the Wikisource1911enc? If you're OK with both (I am), then the other pages I edited didn't have the former; shouldn't we add one for completeness? David Brooks (talk) 22:35, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
No do not include a link to wikisource article in the external links if it is used elsewhere in the article (this is standard advise for all external links), so if {{cite EB1911}} or {{EB1911}} appear elsewhere in a Wikipedia article do not place {{EB1911 poster}} in the external links section. NB Wikisource1911enc redirects to {{EB1911 poster}}.
I think now it exists this type of question is better addressed to the new WikiProject talk page: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Encyclopaedia Britannica. -- PBS (talk) 14:17, 21 November 2013 (UTC)