encyclopedia, encyclopedia britannica, print, onomasticonEncyclopedia Britannica announced that they will stop publishing print editions of their books. The renowned encyclopedia publisher was not slow in jumping on the digital bandwagon: they published a version for computers as early as 1981, and they went online in 1994. Though they are no longer publishing print editions, the company will continue to operate digitally.

Of course, this doesn’t mean encyclopedias are going to stop existing, but no new ones will be printed.  This announcement raises questions about the eventual death of print. Did you grow up with an encyclopedia set at home? If so, you were probably born before 1980. The shift from physical print books to online sources is a generational one.

Even so, just last year American Heritage published the fifth edition of their dictionary, which was 11 years in the making. With the purchase of every print dictionary, they included their iPhone/iPad app as well. However, the media coverage around the publication asked, “Is this going to be the last printed dictionary?” American Heritage presumed there was still a public appetite for analog word discovery. Are there times when you prefer to use the paper version?

(How are words added to the dictionary? Find out here.)

Encyclopedias and dictionaries are different beasts, of course. Whereas a dictionary only hopes to define words, an encyclopedia includes a broader range of information. The Encyclopedia Britannica was a 32-volume set! Where does the encyclopedia come from in the first place? The word “encyclopedia” came from an accidental amalgamation of two Greek words. These books were originally called “enkyklios paideia” which meant “general education.” However, Latin scribes combined the phrase into one word.

Pliny the Elder wrote the first recorded encyclopedia recorded in 77. He covered topics from human physiology to sculpture to geometry. Encyclopedias were not widespread until much later when print was common. During the Renaissance, a number of publishers started making encyclopedias, including Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopaedia (1728) and Diderot’s Encyclopédie (1751). Encyclopedia Britannica followed not long after these new editions. Published in Scotland, the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica came out in 1768 – 244 years ago! To differentiate itself from the continental encyclopedias, Encyclopedia Britannica used the word Britannic, which means “of Britain.”

You know what an encyclopedia is and what a dictionary is, but what’s an onomasticon? Take our essential references quiz to find out.

Will you miss the printed volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica?

Polo Battles Copies On Mauritius Island.(Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.)

WWD April 10, 2003 Outlets hawking Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise dot the island of Mauritius, part of a cottage industry of legalized knockoffs.Polo Battles Copies On Mauritius Island Byline: Bambina Wise PORT LOUIS, Mauritius – A visitor to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius could very well think she had died and gone to Ralph Lauren-outlet heaven.

The tiny island – at 1,150 square miles, it’s not much bigger than Rhode Island – has a population of 1.6 million and its beaches attract about 600,000 mostly European tourists per year. Tourists who leave the beach for even a moment are almost guaranteed to spot an “Original” Ralph Lauren factory outlet store – there’s no less than 500 of them on the island.

If that astounding number of stores isn’t enough to peddle the well-known brand name, clothing with the Ralph Lauren and Polo names also shows up in the tote bags of beach hawkers – so that even the most indolent sunbathers are pretty much guaranteed to have a shot at buying a souvenir from their vacations with the Ralph name on it.

One could easily think Mauritius would be the Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.’s favorite market. Except for one small detail: Every single piece of Ralph Lauren clothing manufactured and sold in Mauritius is fake. Yet the trade is legal – at least in the eyes of the Mauritian government.

The Ralph Lauren saga began in Mauritius in 1992, when Aurdally Bros. & Co. registered the Ralph Lauren trademark with the unsuspecting local Customs authorities. Aurdally Bros. was one of the first companies to set up garment-manufacturing facilities on the island, primarily for the domestic market. Garment manufacturing is now a key source of foreign exchange for Mauritius, which exported $254.7 million worth of apparel to the U.S. last year.

Strangely, after registering the trademark, Aurdally Bros. didn’t do anything with it, and the brand remained dormant for six years. go to site ralph lauren coupon

In December 1998, a group of businessmen set up a company called Captain Tasman and approached Aurdally Bros. to buy the license to produce Ralph Lauren products. For the first year, Captain Tasman paid Aurdally a licensing fee of $67,000, and began manufacturing T-shirts, polos and oxford shirts bearing the label Ralph Lauren, complete with the polo-player logo.

(All dollar figures have been converted from the Mauritian rupee at current exchange rates.) “I built up the brand from scratch in Mauritius,” declared Ajay Beegoo, managing director of Captain Tasman. “Initially, I had five shops selling Ralph Lauren products. Our production and distribution was carefully controlled; our quality was excellent. Soon, we expanded to 12 shops, and we were subcontracting to a few other selected factories.” One manufacturer, who requested anonymity, said, “It was a lucrative setup for both Captain Tasman and Aurdally Brothers. The owner of the trademark got his licensing fee up front every year, and Captain Tasman in turn sold distribution rights to various outlets for [about $1,600] a year. So everyone was happy.” Everyone, that is, but the real Polo Ralph Lauren.

A trademark license in Mauritius is valid for seven years, at which time it may be renewed. When 1999 rolled around, the Ministry of Trade and Industry refused to renew the license, citing a request lodged in 1998 by the New York-based creator of the brand.

Polo Ralph Lauren had asked the Mauritian government to expunge the trademark, which it considered to be illegitimate, unauthorized and improperly managed.

Aurdally Bros. and Captain Tasman filed an appeal against the government’s decision. In 2000, the Ministry announced that it would review the case.

The case is still under review, and many garment manufacturers have decided to jump into the game while the government mulls what to do. In some cases, they’re not even paying royalties to Aurdally Bros.

“It became a free-for-all situation,” explained Marcel Lapierre, a Mauritian entrepreneur who recently set up Fakebusters, a company that specializes in policing and safeguarding intellectual property. “Everybody decided they wanted a piece of the action.” While the scale of the Ralph Lauren counterfeiting industry here is enormous, it is by no means the only well-known brand illegally reproduced. Replay, Diesel, RipCurl, Versace, cK Calvin Klein and Kenzo have also been knocked off or traded illegally.

“This is a hugely profitable industry,” said Lapierre. “It easily brings in between [$33 million to $67 million to the Mauritian companies selling products with the Polo label] a year, at least.” Beegoo, of Captain Tasman, agreed the situation has gotten out of hand.

“I, myself, have practically stopped manufacturing Ralph Lauren products,” he said. “I now produce for and sell to only eight shops. This situation is downgrading the brand.” Despite his shaky claim to the brand name, Beegoo contended he has been a responsible steward of the image.

“I saw an opportunity to do business, and I grabbed it,” he said. “I really protected the brand and looked after it.” He said that he stepped in to stop manufacturers who had begun to export the bogus Lauren goods.

“I’ve taken legal action against several manufacturers and retailers. In some cases, I was successful in closing down certain shops, even putting some factories out of business,” Beegoo said. “These people were killing the market and bringing it down…What outraged me the most was that the public thought it was still Captain Tasman manufacturing all these poor-quality items. My name was being ruined.” In 1998, a Ralph Lauren pique cotton polo shirt cost about $30 on the island. Recently, an itinerant beach hawker, who proudly flashed his government “Authorized Dealer” permit, offered to sell a comparable shirt for $8.50.

John Price, U.S. Ambassador to Mauritius, said he has had to dissuade several visitors from purchasing the bogus Polo products – which even caught the eye of some attendees of January’s African Growth & Opportunity Act trade forum held on the island.

“We have to tell people ‘don’t go – it’s not the real product,’” he said. “The fact is, these outlets are not selling authorized products.” A Polo Ralph Lauren USA spokeswoman said: “We do not have a manufacturing or retail presence on the island of Mauritius – every piece of Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise produced and sold there is counterfeit. Once we learned of the counterfeit industry in Mauritius, we initiated legal proceedings to protect the integrity of our brand, and to help ensure that our customers don’t unknowingly purchase counterfeit Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise.” There was a time, almost a decade ago, when Mauritius’ then-developing apparel industry did legally make some Polo Ralph Lauren garments. Leisure Garments, a division of Hong Kong-based conglomerate Esquel, filled real orders in the early Nineties, according to Richard Chin, managing director. in our site ralph lauren coupon

Beegoo, of Captain Tasman, said he would like nothing more than to go legitimate.

“Ralph Lauren cannot stop what’s going on in Mauritius,” he asserted. “This case will drag on in the courts for years. So, wouldn’t it be better to make a deal with Ralph Lauren?” While acknowledging that “it’s easy to say that Customs should have known Ralph Lauren was an international brand,” Danielle Wong, director of the Mauritius Export Processing Zone Association, contended that “being an international brand, it is quite surprising that Ralph Lauren never bothered to register their trademark here.” Ambassador Price said he believes the Mauritians want to resolve this issue, partly to avoid having a black eye on the branding front at a time when the nation is trying to further solidify its place as a trading gateway to Africa.

He said the current free-for-all situation shouldn’t be allowed to drag on for too long. The parties involved, he said, “should get on with it and adjudicate, or work out an agreement and make a deal. It can’t be left in limbo indefinitely.” For its part, the Mauritian government has taken steps to address the issue of counterfeit production and trademark protection in general.

Josee Neta, industrial property office controller and acting controller of trademark, said, “There is a commitment on the part of the Government of Mauritius to create an investment-friendly environment in the country and to transform its economy into a modern and dynamic one.” Strict new laws on intellectual property took effect in January. They were not retroactive.

Neta said the former laws were “limited to patents and trademarks and did not achieve the level of protection nor enforcement required.” The new laws contain clear enforcement procedures and provide for heavy penalties such as steep fines and imprisonment, which, she said, “will act as a deterrent to the importation and sale of counterfeit goods.” Another key feature of the new laws is that well-known trademarks are protected, whether they are registered in Mauritius or not.

Neta said she believes these laws will help prevent further incidents of foreign trademarks being improperly registered.

Ambassador Price said he believes the new laws are a step in the right direction, but that it will take time to resolve the situation.

“This is not some small-room-in-the-back-of-the-house outfit,” he said. “This is a syndicate, a well-run operation with muscle.” Neta declined to comment about the Ralph Lauren case, saying that it is “of a very complex nature and has not been resolved by the court.” Price noted the U.S. Embassy in Mauritius has successfully intervened to stop the pirating of other U.S. brands. Last year, he said, Oakley approached the embassy with suspicions that some of its products that were made in South Africa were being illegally sold in Mauritius.

Oakley hired Fakebusters, which together with the U.S. Embassy, began to investigate and police the situation.

Their combined efforts resulted in a “successful clean-up operation,” according to Fakebusters’ Lapierre.

Price added that the Oakley cleanup had an extra bonus for Mauritius. He said Oakley was so impressed with the infrastructure of the local manufacturing industry that “they are sending a team to look at the island to set up here, to start a legitimate operation here.” Until the government brings an end to its reign, Captain Tasman continues to lead the strong trade in bogus Ralph Lauren products. Beegoo claimed that he’s not really hurting Polo Ralph Lauren.

“Look at the plus side,” he claimed. “We’re actually doing free advertising for Ralph Lauren…I’ve built up the brand for them indirectly. Does it really matter if it’s fake? After all, image is everything, isn’t it?”


  1. Shane -  April 10, 2012 - 11:14 pm

    I still have a set of encyclopedia Britannica and occassionally randomly grab a volume and have a read. I think to myself that it is a lot like learning form the net but there are no adds on the pages. Its almost disconcerting that the whole page it devoted to the topic. Mis the hyperlinks though.

  2. Jewels -  March 30, 2012 - 7:33 am

    Yes, I will miss the books. I already do miss them and I wish I was able to afford a good set of them. I love books. I love to own books and if I were rich I would have a library of my own in the house.

  3. mary torres ~lots of love ~ -  March 28, 2012 - 12:59 pm

    music is my life :)

  4. Mike -  March 22, 2012 - 11:20 pm

    Besides the prospect of mass power failure and the loss of access to online information, I think the more insidious problem with a total reliance (in the future) on Internet knowledge is its power to control.

    Digitial information is mutable and easily changed, whereas info in a book is fixed. Imagine this future: Gatekeepers of online information (Google, Bing, Britannica, etc.) giving different info to different people. Yes, content tailored to an individual’s tastes or political affiliations; so for Debbie the Democrat, she gets “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” without the N-word; Rob the Republican is given a history of World War II but tweaked to match his deeply held politics. Or maybe certain telling bits of info are strategically ommitted? (They already tailor advertisements to individuals.) The power to shape and misshape info would be endless, for good or nefarious ends. You can’t wield that kind of power with the printed word.

    So, the societal repercussions of an end to books is more than aesthetic or practical. It’s about who will control online information.

  5. mary torres so uncuffed -  March 22, 2012 - 9:38 pm


  6. Grammar Forever -  March 22, 2012 - 5:56 pm

    If people put all of the books on digital devices, where will we get our papercuts???

  7. phree -  March 21, 2012 - 3:31 pm


  8. Back Bencher -  March 20, 2012 - 8:48 am

    Last Comment!! :-(

  9. Avra-Sha Faohla -  March 19, 2012 - 3:22 pm

    I much prefer to have something tangible. It’s more convenient and quicker to use a computer, yes, which is why I’m grateful for computers. But that doesn’t mean I want books eliminated!

    First of all, books are more reliable. Digital information disappears when the device that holds it breaks. Books don’t break the way computers do.

    Secondly, I really prefer books if I’m doing any sort of lengthy reading because (1) you can’t cuddle up with a computer the way you can with a book, and (2) screens hurt my eyes.

  10. Error-E76-1 -  March 19, 2012 - 10:15 am

    Recycle it. (:

  11. Book of Eli -  March 16, 2012 - 4:49 pm

    Now I have to hoard Britannica in case its worth more someday :) Its always been very handy for me ! Hope we always have electricity. Can always read by candle light.

  12. janski -  March 16, 2012 - 4:35 pm

    Born in 1949, I grew up with 2, then 3 encyclopedias. The old ones were never tossed… they were a picture in time. The oldest was early 1920′s, pre-depression, post-WWI, with lots of old stories… and some that haven’t changed much. I used to love sitting on the floor in front of them. I could pick any book, any era and be entranced page after page. The next series was 1950 and the next was 1960. I will miss those quiet times… I still have the 1920′s version… what a hoot. My sister has the rest (she had kids, I didn’t). Computers are great, but I will miss those pictures in time.

  13. Cliff -  March 16, 2012 - 4:32 pm

    The dynamics that we all love when we say we love books is not going away with the demise of EB. Rather, the value of what EB offers in a world of paid subscriptions and dynamic content makes productions like EB quickly arcane in its content. A reality EB editors probably realized at the outset of going digital. All one has to do is look at EB’s site to see how developed the content is and how it in no way can be replicated in print. Also, since libraries are now more equipped that ever with electronic media subscriptions, it does no damage to the value of EB’s content within the serviceable function of library services; rather, I think, it greatly enhances it. (Caveat: I love books and I don’t have any desire to have them become the past.)

  14. Anon -  March 16, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    I was born in the 90s and we had multiple sets of encyclopedias at home…. I think still printing a few “library editions” whould be nice. And custom orders. I love online encyclopedias but I will never read an enovel. As Kay said above, I already sear my eyes to watch TV, play video games, and use the computer at home and at work, the last thing I need to do is read on a backlit screen.

  15. Nerdasaurus -  March 16, 2012 - 3:58 pm

    Now, if I can’t get a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, what will I put on the bookshelves of my obnoxiously cliché professor’s study? My tweed jacket will feel so lonely.

  16. tanya -  March 16, 2012 - 2:52 pm


  17. Lucy -  March 16, 2012 - 2:42 pm

    It’s like scrolls to books or writing to printing. That’s it.

  18. coldbear -  March 16, 2012 - 2:15 pm

    I don’t think that reference materials going digital-only signifies the death of print. It actually tends to be easier finding something in an electronic encyclopedia than a printed one. But that may be personal preference.

    I had a printed set when my children were young, and they used it; but we found the electronic version quicker and easier.

    Dictionaries, however, are probably best left printed (for the smaller abridged versions) as well as electronic (like this one). Sometimes, having a small hand-held dictionary is just easier.

    A number of people commented about preferring to read print books. that is a different animal, and I agree with them (I am an avid reader). But it has no relationship to encyclopedias and dictionaries.

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