1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Notes on reading the Encyclopædia

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Whilst the encyclopædia is known as outstanding reference text, it is almost one hundred years old, and so the style and presentation is somewhat different from what people expect today. Some notes by Wikipedians are given here to assist the reader in understanding the text.

POV issues[edit]

The point of view held by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica is roughly the one of the British and American educated classes at the beginning of the twentieth century. Any topic that would be sensitive to this point-of-view (POV) should be considered potentially biased, and verified with other sources before being copied and pasted into Wikipedia. Examples of biased articles imported in Wikipedia are the ones about French First Empire, the Stockholm Bloodbath, and king Umberto I of Italy. Often, an acceptably non-POV article can be obtained by filtering out or moderating biased or inaccurate statements.

The Wikisource version of EB1911 must never be edited for POV. Its purpose is to record the text exactly as it was written. A copy of the Wikisource text can be made and edited elsewhere in the manner suggested above.

Units and measurements[edit]

All units and measurements are imperial as the text was written before British metrification.

Paragraph length[edit]

For reasons of cost and academic writing style, the paragraphs are rather long in length, making reading somewhat tiresome on the eyes.


At the end of some articles is a section called "Authorities." This is a record of all the sources used when writing the article. The reader may consider this the combination of today's Citations, References and Bibliography sections in modern reference texts.


Contributors to articles are sometimes identified by their initials in parentheses at the end of the article. The initials may be linked to the "Author" page in Wikisource. A cross-reference of initials to author name is located at the beginning of each volume (e.g. Vol 1 Table of contributors). The alphabetical list of contributors is found at the end of Volume 29.

Images and Diagrams[edit]

Images and diagrams were included in the encyclopedia, and will be included as and when they become available (probably via Project Gutenberg).