encycloMake no mistake, the topical entries in THE CONCISE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMMUNICATION are, well, concise.  But that’s this particular encyclopedia’s charm. The one-volume work, edited by Wolfgang Donsbach, is based on the landmark 12-volume International Encyclopedia of Communication of 2008. It is both a distillation and update of the former work.  Jointly published by Wiley-Blackwell and the International Communication Association, it features over 550 interdisciplinary entries defined by hundreds of  distinguished contributors.

Explains the editor: “‘The original printed version of the IEC had 1,339 entries ranging from less than 1,000 to more than 6,000 words.  Converting the IEC into the CEC meant primarily three tasks: (1) selecting headwords, (2) Abridging the corresponding entries, and (3) updating their content.’  As a first step [Donsbach] went back to the area editors of the IEC and asked them to name the 50 percent of headwords they deemed the most important in which, therefore, they would like to see printed in a concise reference work.  Most area editors made this decision.  In cases where they did not respond the editor stepped in.  In addition, some fine-tuning was necessary in order to avoid overlap and give sufficient coherence to the headword system.  This resulted in 577 subjects covered by more than 500 authors, about 43 percent of the subjects covered in the IEC.” –Editor’s Introduction

To combat the strictures of brevity, large topics are perforce broken into pieces. The entry, Journalism, is barely more than two pages but continues with topics such as Journalism Education; Journalism, History of; Journalism, Legal Situation: Journalists, Credibility; and Journalists’ Role Perception.  Still, all of this only comprises nine pages. And look out for strays; off in the A’s lurks “Alternative Journalism,” go figure.   There is a complete list of topics in the front you may want to check.  While most are obvious, too-be-expected terms and phrases (Agenda Setting, Cultivation Analysis, CNN, Political Economy of the Media) there are some doozies that you wouldn’t think to look for such as: Bad News in Medicine, Communicating.

There is not much in the way of bibliographies, often only 4 or 5 per entry, but again, this is the concise version of the field and as such it is an informative work to spend some time with.



Leave a comment