The (Electronic) Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste

Back in April, I mentioned that the Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage was available.  At the time, I had four copies of the hardcopy version on my dining room table.  It is gratifying to, after months of work editing and revising entries, have a tangible, heavy object (more precisely, two tangible, heavy objects) as proof of your efforts.  The vast majority of readers may not care about that sweat equity, however, and may not wish to risk hernias to look up issues relating to sewage, climate change, recycling, nuclear power, or, well, the waste generated by publishing books and periodicals.

Thankfully, readers have another, lighter option.  If you go to SAGE’s website dedicated to the encyclopedia, you will see a box in the upper right-hand corner exclaiming “This title is available electronically via SAGE Reference Online.” This week, I had an opportunity to play around with the electronic edition, and it is an excellent way to search the wide variety of topics we included. The home page offers four search options:

Advanced Search – Use keywords if you have a specific query
Reader’s Guide – Find entries by browsing through thematic categories
Entries A-Z – Browse or ‘search as you type’ the entire list of entries
Subject Index – Browse A-Z or ‘search as you type’ the contents of the index

For a more than 1200-page, two-volume reference work, this electronic option is handy. It also gives you the option of printing or saving to PDF individual entries. Reading this version more closely approximates my experience of editing the work, as initial entries were submitted on Microsoft Word documents via a searchable database. This version has the advantages of polished entries, dozens of supplementary photographs, and easy-to-use links both within the entries and in the sidebar Subject Guide.

If your library or lending institution is interested in stocking this title, direct them to the publisher’s contact information to get the process started.

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