If you are a graduate student working on poetry, or a critic writing about an unfamiliar period or tradition, you will probably find yourself opening the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, for a few decades now the best point of departure for such questions as: what was Lettrism? Who are the major Flemish poets? What are the origins of rhyme? The first PEPP appeared in 1965; two of its three editors died in the 1980s, midway through the lengthy task of turning the second edition into the third. The fourth PEPP, published in August, is not only the first in twenty years, but the first with an all new editorial team: Roland Greene, Stephen Cushman and three associate editors rode herd on 1100 articles, some wholly unchanged, many lightly rewritten, and 250 entirely new. (I rewrote ‘refrain’.) It’s a big brick of a volume, almost the size of a child's head, and it may be the last edition of PEPP to take shape as a physical printed book.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica has at last succumbed to the inevitable. It will no longer be published in a print edition but is going online only. David Runciman's 2009 review of The Wikipedia Revolution by Andrew Lih begins: