Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Library readies shelves for print edition of Wikipedia

Interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator Michael Mandiberg has found a home for a current endeavor that he describes as "half utilitarian data visualization project, half absurdist poetic gesture" -- printing Wikipedia as a 7600-volume reference set.

He offers this explanation in a recent New York Times article
“When I started, I wondered, ‘What if I took this new thing and made it into that old thing?  What would it look like?’ ”

"Really?!" you ask.

"Well, no, at least not as I've framed it here," I reply.

To date, no library is planning to offer Wikipedia in print, and I'd be very surprised to read of such an announcement.

I took the above photo, which already has a lot of mileage on it, at the Madison Central Library 7-8 years ago, after staff completed an aggressive weeding project of the reference collection.  Not allowing for any 'breathing room', I calculate that the these empty shelves will accommodate less than 1/3 of the 7600 volumes.

Mandiberg is not planning to print the entire set for this project, but you can purchase it for $500,000, which includes a 91-volume table of contents and a 36-volume contributors index.

Speaking of encyclopedias.....

The following LINKcat libraries own the 2015 edition of World Book encyclopedia:
  • Black Earth (children's reference)
  • Kilbourn Public Library, Wisconsin Dells (reference)
  • Middleton (children's reference)
  • Monroe (adult reference)
  • Portage (children's reference)
  • Ruth Culver Community Library, Prairie du Sac (adult reference)
  • Verona Public Library (reference)
  • Macmillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids (children's, circulating)
The following LINKcat libraries own the 2014 edition of World Book encyclopedia:
  • Ashman Branch, Madison Public Library (children's nonfiction)
  • Central Library, Madison Public Library (ready reference and children's reference)
  • Hawthorne Branch, Madison Public Library (reference)
  • Lakeview Branch, Madison Public Library (reference)
  • Meadowridge Branch, Madison Public Library (reference)
  • Monroe Street Branch, Madison Public Library (reference)
  • Pinney Branch, Madison Public Library (children's nonfiction)
  • Sequoya Branch, Madison Public Library (reference)
  • South Madison Branch, Madison Public Library (children's nonfiction)
  • Middleton (children's nonfiction)
  • Mount Horeb (reference)

World Book in print seems to be holding its own, but I have to wonder if the volumes are consulted as much as they used to be.  During my 22 years at Middleton, the bindings of the circulating older editions clearly indicated that they were used a lot.

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