David Gerard wrote:
This is old news. Quid, by the way, is not a true encyclopedia. It is
single-volume "quick reference" book. Articles have series of raw facts
written very tersely. If I remember correctly, articles are not signed
and do not have any references.
Quid has never been a favourite of academics, because it's impossible to
trace where the information comes from. You just cannot cite 'Quid' as a
source in any serious paper.
However, it is a very useful and practical product for certain applications.
As for the alleged experts that write Quid, I'd be inclined to believe
their claims if each article came with a list of the experts involved.
Pardon my scepticism, but I'm inclined to believe that in an era of
cost-saving, some "reference works" are more likely to be updated by
student interns than by top-notch folks.
Contrary to what Frémy says, Wikipedia has an edge of quality over Quid:
at least, in well-written Wikipedia entries, you can hope to trace the
facts you wish to cite to some authoritative source.
As for Encyclopaedia Universalis, it is a totally different piece of
work. Here, the articles are signed, and on the topics I know about they
tend to be signed by top-notch academics in the field (but I'm told that
this is not always the case). My main grievance against Universalis is
that their choice of topics leaves surprising "holes" in the coverage of
knowledge, and I suspect that this may be due to the fact that
Universalis was started in the late 60's - they largely avoid some
scientific topics that raised to prominence in the 70's.