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What encyclopedia do you use?

 
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memmerrill
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Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 29
Location: PA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:49 pm    Post subject: What encyclopedia do you use? Reply with quote

Which encyclopedia set is your favorite? Or do you prefer a software version? Any tips for acquiring encyclopedias on a budget? Thanks, everyone! Very Happy
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Theodore
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
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Location: Missouri, US

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have several, and my favorite (assuming you're going with a print encyclopdia) is World Book. To be honest, though, it's far more convenient to just pull up Wikipedia, and the information there is generally completely up to date. Wikipedia is free too Smile
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memmerrill
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the idea of Wikipedia. It does fit our budget the best, since it's free!
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Redhead
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Joined: 10 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please do not use Wikipedia. It's a user-generated "encyclopedia," meaning anyone can post to it and ascribe whatever meaning they want to something. Accuracy is not a prerequisite for posting, and so people with axes to grind or who consider themselves experts on something (but aren't) can post anything they want.

Some of the information is accurate but a great deal is not. I honestly don't know of any teacher/professor who would allow Wikipedia to be used a legitimate source for a paper.

It may be free, but in this case, you need to remember the axiom: You get what you pay for.
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memmerrill
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's true about Wikipedia. When used, it is really something to be used by someone who is old enough to discern from the true & incorrect. Also, I agree it really is best used for fun and not for academic purposes, such as a reference for an academic paper.

That being said, what do you think is the best option for purchasing a set of encyclopedia books for someone who is on a budget? How outdated can I go if I buy used? Any ideas? Thanks! Very Happy
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memmerrill
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Joined: 11 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I emailed my husband, who is a podiatry student & often browses Wikipedia for fun, about this discussion & this was his input,

"I must say that in my limited understanding of Wikipedia, it is much
like EBAY. There are ways to cheat the system and lie to
people but the feedback system catches them. Everything I
have seen, as far as the scientific aspect goes, has been
100% accurate. The only thing it is not, is complete.
That's all."
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mdsmomct
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Joined: 30 Aug 2006
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Location: CT

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was lucky and someone posted a set on freecycle and I was the first responder. Do you freecycle? You can also ask for things on their and maybe look at craigslist for an inexpensive set?

I think wikipedia is an excellent resource as long as you are aware anyone can alter the info so it's good to double or triple check if in doubt!
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memmerrill
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do freecycle. It's great! Haven't seen any encyclopedias on there so far, but you really never know what you will find.

How old are the ones you got on freecycle? Do they work well for homeschooling purposes? I'd like to know how old is too old to bother with acquiring. Thanks!!
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Redhead
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That being said, what do you think is the best option for purchasing a set of encyclopedia books for someone who is on a budget? How outdated can I go if I buy used? Any ideas? Thanks! Very Happy[/quote]

How old you can go would depend a lot on what you're using the encyclopedia for. Biographies are one thing; science is another. So, you'd kind of have to decide why you're really wanting an encyclopedia.

To be honest, I think the Internet is, itself, the most accessible encyclopedia you can have. For example, geographical questions could be answered from sites like National Geographic. As with anything Internet, you'd want to make sure you're going to valid sites, but that doesn't take much research or effort.

If you're already paying for bandwidth, you might as well use it for all it's worth! Otherwise, you can generally find cheap encyclopedia software on eBay (check CompUSA or Best Buy as well-- they have $9.99 software that generally includes encyclopedia software). Also, keep an eye out for schools/libraries that sell off their older copies--- you can get books cheaply that way as well.
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memmerrill
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the ideas, everyone! Smile
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wikipedia is generated from user input, true, and some articles in highly political or commercial areas such as political candidates and new drugs are probably going to be biased one way or another, but for the most part Wikipedia is well-documented and relatively unbiased, and like I said before, completely up to date. Even respected encyclopedias will have bias or mistakes in some articles - the difference is that users can't submit fixes to those and see them updated on a timely basis.

Bottom line, you may have to filter Wikipedia through what you know and believe about the world, and verify its information through primary sources, but it's still the best single source for information, imho. And when you factor in its convenience, you'll look things up more often and learn more as a result.
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Calla_Dragon
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Joined: 22 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Wikipedia! I've gotten tons of information from there and for user-generated content, that's pretty impressive. I wouldn't hesitate to use it for homeschooling, but I wouldn't use it as my sole source. I wouldn't use any one source as my sole source - that's the beauty of homeschooling! Smile

I've not had need for an encyclopedia yet since my kids are so young, but I know I've used Wikipedia more times than I can count.
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mdsmomct
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ones I received are from 1998 - and like I told the person giving them away, anything that is not up to date can be found on the internet so 1998 is not that old. Wink
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