Just before I left I wrote a report on a proposed reference work for a major publisher. It’s another one of those multi-author, multi-editor, print/online companion-encyclopedia-dictionary type things. (It wasn’t the proposed AAG one I mentioned a few weeks ago).
I’ve been a bit equivocal in my report, since the sample entry, on a topic on which I know little, was actually quite useful. I can imagine using it as a resource or map of available resources if I was asked to give a lecture on that topic at fairly short notice. But is this really the best use of publisher energies, editor and contributor efforts, and library resources? I can’t help but think not.
In related news, Rob Kitchin reports that the International Encyclopedia of Human Geography that he and Nigel Thrift lead has won a Choice outstanding academic title. (I had a minor involvement in it, as I wrote pieces on ‘Philosophy and Human Geography’ and ‘Space’ for it). But it’s partly because such a monstrous reference work exists that I’m so sceptical of the need for more. I can’t be alone in thinking that the efforts that went into that – alongside all the other similar type projects that already existed – don’t need to be duplicated anytime soon.