Death of Encarta

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Just learned today that Microsoft's encyclopedia, Encarta, is dead. Microsoft announced its demise in 2009. The announcement at Microsoft site is already a dead link. You can see second hand reports.

Microsoft to kill Encarta 2019-12-19 bv6gq
[Microsoft to kill Encarta later this year By Emil Protalinski. At arstechnica]

This is surprising because even just a few years ago around ~2005, Encarta and Britannica both belittle Wikipedia, and added public editing to their encyclopedias to compete with the annoying Wikipedia.

In hindsight, death of Encarta is written on the wall of course. Whatever quality and expert material in Encarta, the Wikipedia fuckheads will grab the gist, reword it, and it becomes part of Wikipedia with a citation link. And after a few months of editing by hundreds of people, the link often gets edited out. That is the nature of the internet, and there is no copyright on knowledge. The death of Encarta does not mean Wikipedia won. If something won, it is the communication technology revolution, the digital age, the info age.

Although i haven't seen formal reports or studies, but today, the info on internet probably surpassed the info in world's brick-and-mortar libraries combined (counting only modern texts of the past 2 hundred years, not counting ancient texts or artifacts). Note that Google, Amazon, Microsoft all have major projects that digitize books.

Some tech geeking idiots may sigh, about how quality expert info is replaced by the bloggy internet. Note that it is not that quality info or experts are gone. It's just that they switched to a media that is far more efficient and effective in distributing info. For example, say the various esoteric math fields of the esoteric mathematicians. In the past, they publish thru esoteric printed journals and write articles for Britannica. Today, if you want to see the handful of the world's top mathematician's thoughts and opinions or their research findings, you go to their home pages or blogs, which contain info that's too slow to be published in print. Esoteric math printed journals are still around, but their days are numbered.

(Note that the Wikipedia article on Encarta was largely written by me in its early days. It is when, the Wikipedia fuckheads, all they have to say on Encarta was that Microsoft sucks blood and it is lousy in comparison to Wikipedia. See my first edit, of 2003-11 here: )

Wikipedia encarta 2003-11-29 oldid1838004 2021-10-13 TGy3
Wikipedia encarta 2003-11-29 oldid1838004 2021-10-13 TGy3

It is interesting to see when Britannica will quit.