Advanced

Relocating the owl of wisdom : Encyclopaedias in a life-historical perspective

Rivano Eckerdal, Johanna LU and Sundin, Olof LU (2015) In Nordisk tidsskrift for informationsvitenskab- og kulturformidling 4(3). p.21-34
Abstract (Swedish)
Artikeln undersöker människors förhållningssätt till uppslagsverk och encyklopedier i ett livshistoriskt perspektiv under en period när encyklopedier har genomgått dramatiska förändringar. En frågelista som skickats till fasta så kallade meddelare knutna till Folklivsarkivet i Lund har använts som metod. Svaren har analyserats med hjälp av posthumanistisk teori. Analysen visar de sätt som tryckta encyklopedier har spelat en roll i meddelarnas liv. Verken var dyra och fungerade som försäkringar för ett gott medelklassliv för familjen. Att makar ibland hade olika syn på uppslagsverks värde visar på förändringen som skett både av kvinnors ekonomiska villkor och av bokpriser. Böckernas materialitet är väsentlig i berättelserna även om de ofta... (More)
Artikeln undersöker människors förhållningssätt till uppslagsverk och encyklopedier i ett livshistoriskt perspektiv under en period när encyklopedier har genomgått dramatiska förändringar. En frågelista som skickats till fasta så kallade meddelare knutna till Folklivsarkivet i Lund har använts som metod. Svaren har analyserats med hjälp av posthumanistisk teori. Analysen visar de sätt som tryckta encyklopedier har spelat en roll i meddelarnas liv. Verken var dyra och fungerade som försäkringar för ett gott medelklassliv för familjen. Att makar ibland hade olika syn på uppslagsverks värde visar på förändringen som skett både av kvinnors ekonomiska villkor och av bokpriser. Böckernas materialitet är väsentlig i berättelserna även om de ofta skrymmande verken idag är svåra att husera när information kan nås online. Encyklopedier associeras till tryckta verk även om de flesta meddelarna idag använder Google. De tryckta verken har flyttats till källare eller sommarhus där deras oföränderlighet gör dem aktuella på nytt. (Less)
Abstract
Encyclopaedias are artefacts that both define and are defined by the culture in which they are produced and used. Encyclopaedias mirror the time of their creation, at the same time as understanding and use of encyclopaedias is tied to both time and space. From the 19th century until the present day encyclopaedias have changed from exclusive and costly Collections of books kept mainly in libraries and other institutions, into affordable collections occupying a natural place in many homes and then nowadays, into free online services available almost everywhere and at any time. Thus, both the significance ascribed to encyclopaedias and the place assigned to them has changed over time. Nevertheless they have never failed to exert an important... (More)
Encyclopaedias are artefacts that both define and are defined by the culture in which they are produced and used. Encyclopaedias mirror the time of their creation, at the same time as understanding and use of encyclopaedias is tied to both time and space. From the 19th century until the present day encyclopaedias have changed from exclusive and costly Collections of books kept mainly in libraries and other institutions, into affordable collections occupying a natural place in many homes and then nowadays, into free online services available almost everywhere and at any time. Thus, both the significance ascribed to encyclopaedias and the place assigned to them has changed over time. Nevertheless they have never failed to exert an important cultural influence. Yet interestingly, the question of how encyclopaedias are being experienced in everyday life has remained unexplored. Earlier studies on encyclopaedias have mainly focused on print encyclopaedias as historical artefacts and studied their publishing in a sociohistorical context (e.g. Collison, 1964; Yeo, 2001). Despite apparent methodological difficulties, some attempts have also been made to discuss their use in the past (Blair, 2010). Research on today’s dominant encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, differs from past research on encyclopaedias (e.g. Mesgari et al., 2015), both regarding the vast number of studies done and with regard to the fact that more humanities-oriented approaches which were typically adopted by previous research on encyclopaedias are underrepresented.In this article we address the questions of how encyclopaedias as cultural artefacts are used and understood in everyday life and how the media-material changes of encyclopaedias have influenced this use and understanding. To answer these questions we have used a qualitative questionnaire sent to volunteer contributors to the Folk life Archive at Lund University, Sweden. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Nordisk tidsskrift for informationsvitenskab- og kulturformidling
volume
4
issue
3
pages
21 - 34
publisher
Det Informationsvidenskabelige Akademi
ISSN
2245-2931
project
Encyklopedier i förvandling och konstruktion av offentlig kunskap
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
09f9e5df-51b2-4129-9997-950bfd0383d3 (old id 8498007)
alternative location
http://ntik.dk/2015/Nr3/Sundin.pdf
date added to LUP
2015-12-29 13:25:18
date last changed
2017-04-11 12:50:43
@article{09f9e5df-51b2-4129-9997-950bfd0383d3,
  abstract     = {Encyclopaedias are artefacts that both define and are defined by the culture in which they are produced and used. Encyclopaedias mirror the time of their creation, at the same time as understanding and use of encyclopaedias is tied to both time and space. From the 19th century until the present day encyclopaedias have changed from exclusive and costly Collections of books kept mainly in libraries and other institutions, into affordable collections occupying a natural place in many homes and then nowadays, into free online services available almost everywhere and at any time. Thus, both the significance ascribed to encyclopaedias and the place assigned to them has changed over time. Nevertheless they have never failed to exert an important cultural influence. Yet interestingly, the question of how encyclopaedias are being experienced in everyday life has remained unexplored. Earlier studies on encyclopaedias have mainly focused on print encyclopaedias as historical artefacts and studied their publishing in a sociohistorical context (e.g. Collison, 1964; Yeo, 2001). Despite apparent methodological difficulties, some attempts have also been made to discuss their use in the past (Blair, 2010). Research on today’s dominant encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, differs from past research on encyclopaedias (e.g. Mesgari et al., 2015), both regarding the vast number of studies done and with regard to the fact that more humanities-oriented approaches which were typically adopted by previous research on encyclopaedias are underrepresented.In this article we address the questions of how encyclopaedias as cultural artefacts are used and understood in everyday life and how the media-material changes of encyclopaedias have influenced this use and understanding. To answer these questions we have used a qualitative questionnaire sent to volunteer contributors to the Folk life Archive at Lund University, Sweden.},
  author       = {Rivano Eckerdal, Johanna and Sundin, Olof},
  issn         = {2245-2931},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {21--34},
  publisher    = {Det Informationsvidenskabelige Akademi},
  series       = {Nordisk tidsskrift for informationsvitenskab- og kulturformidling},
  title        = {Relocating the owl of wisdom : Encyclopaedias in a life-historical perspective},
  volume       = {4},
  year         = {2015},
}