AL -- General Encyclopedias

Brockhaus, Die Enzyklopädie in 24 Bänden [Brockhaus, the Encyclopedia in 24 Volumes]. 20th rev. and updated ed. Leipzig; Mannheim: F. A. Brockhaus. 25 cm. ISBN 3-7653-3100-7: DM 5,472.00 (complete set), DM 228.00 (per volume) [99-1/4-046]

Vol. 14. Mae-Mob. 1998. 752 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3114-7

Vol. 15. Moc-Nord. 1998. 752 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3115-5

Vol. 16. Nore-Pert. 1998. 751 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3116-3

Vol. 17. Peru-Rag. 1998. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3117-1

Vol. 18. Rah-Saf. 1998. 752 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3118-X

Vol. 19. Sag-Seie. 1998. 720 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3119-8

Vol. 20. Seif-Stal. 1998. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3120-1

Vol. 21. Stam-Thel. 1998. 736 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3121-X

Vol. 22. Them-Vak. 1999. 720 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3122-8

Vol. 23. Vall-Welh. 1999. 720 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3123-6

Vol. 24. Weli-Zz. 1999. 752 p. ill. ISBN 3-7653-3124-4

The twentieth edition of Brockhaus, Die Enzyklopädie (BE) began appearing in October 1996, at the rate of approximately one volume per month, and was completed two and one-half years later with the presentation of volume 24 at the March 1999 Leipzig Book Fair. (See reviews of volumes 1-13 of BE20 in RREA 3:78 and RREA 4:35.) The nineteenth edition (BE19, entitled Brockhaus Enzyklopädie) took eight years (1986-1994) to complete; the BE20 was in comparison prepared in an extremely short period of time, above all because of computer assistance in setting up the dictionary.

For the first time a Brockhaus encyclopedia was not created from a card catalog of headings and cross-references but rather from the headings and references found in the nineteenth edition's online text. This ability quickly to revise text, illustrations, and headings on screen lightens the workload, reduces preparation time, and is naturally welcome, but it also raises the question of whether this simplification has led to the shortcomings discussed in the above-mentioned reviews of the first volumes of BE20. These mainly include compromises in length made necessary by the additional illustrations, extensive updates to the BE19 text, the shortening of wording, the transformation of a main entry to a reference to the topic within another entry, the deletion of headings or illustrations, and minor updates to existing headings.

The twentieth edition contains the same number of headings and cross-references as the nineteenth edition (ca. 260,000), main headings (some 240), and illustrations (over 35,000). According to the publisher, some twenty percent of the headings have been updated from the nineteenth to the twentieth edition. In all there are forty editors in the Leipzig editorial office, some twenty chief editors, a further 1,350 contributors, and 289 "authors of the twentieth edition."

The twentieth edition will also have six supplements, comprised of a Deutsches Wörterbuch [German Dictionary] (volumes 28-30), a Großwörterbuch Englisch [German-English Dictionary] (volume 26), a Bildwörterbuch [Illustrated Dictionary] (volume 25), and Zitate und Redewendungen [Quotations and Idioms] (volume 27). Because of the reduced preparation time, a supplementary volume A-Z like volume 30 of the BE19 has been dropped. Likewise, there will be no personal name index, which covered persons mentioned within each article, like volume 25 of BE19. The publisher owes us an explanation of why this decision was made.

Presently there is no reason to expect an electronic version of the Brockhaus-Enzyklopädie, as the publishers state that the size of the encyclopedia's contents would burst the capacity of a CD-ROM. There also appears to be no consideration of an online-accessible version. Instead, the publisher is making use of the BE20 for other projects. A limited edition, organized and produced by André Heller under the title Brockhaus Enzyklopädie 2000 (1999, ISBN 3-7653-3600-9: DM 25,000.00), is one. Another project that appeared simultaneously with the BE20 was a slimmed-down version, Brockhaus in fünfzehn Bänden [Brockhaus in Fifteen Volumes] (1997-1999, ISBN 3-7653-2801 4: DM 720.00). This midsize encyclopedia forms the basis for two CD-ROM products: the Brockhaus in Text und Bild [Brockhaus in Texts and Illustrations] (1999, ISBN 3-411-70671-6. DM: 149.00) and Brockhaus multimedial (1998, ISBN 3-411-06901-5: DM 199.00). This latter product seems finally to indicate that the publisher is trying seriously to make a place for its products among the grand projects of the multimedia dictionary and encyclopedia market. [N.B. Since this review was written, a more recent edition, Der Brockhaus multimedial 2000 Premium (1999, ISBN 3-411-06902-3: DM 179.00), has come out]. [sah/ga]

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