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.


International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition

I want to riff off a news item from Penn Libraries News earlier this Spring posted by the Social Science Bibliographer and my good colleague Lauris Olson on the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition. Aavailable to the Penn community online, online (James D. Wright, editor-in-chief, 26 volumes, Elsevier, 2015)  this second edition is, as Lauris explains, a “14-year update to a reference work whose first edition was called by its reviewers, ‘the largest corpus of knowledge about the social and behavioral sciences in existence’ and “the atomic bomb of reference works.’” While there are a few “legacy articles” in the second edition, most of the articles are updated or totally rewritten.

000aab3f_mediumThere are over 50 general subject areas in which once can find communication or communication-related topics distributed. I only had to mine a few sections–Anthropology, Applied Social and Behavioral Sciences, Contemporary Cultural Concerns–to come up with the following examples:  Internet and Social Media: Anthropological Aspects;  Organizational Culture: Anthropology of; Popular Culture;  Cyberbullying; New Media, Political Mobilization, and the Arab Spring; Oral and Literate Expression;  Oversharing: The Eclipse of Privacy  in the Internet Age;  Surveillance Studies;  Tattoos and Body Modification; Social network analysis, Systematic reviewing and meta-analysis. The most consolidated area for the field can be found in Media Studies and Mass Communication.  Articles in this section: Advertising Agencies; Advertising and Advertisements; Advertising, Control of;  Advertising effects; Advertising: General; Agenda Setting, Media Effects on; Audience Measurement; Audiences, Media; British Cultural Studies; Broadcasting: Regulation; Celebrity; Citizen Journalism; Communication, Twostep Flow of; Community and Media; Computer Mediated Communication; Documentary and Ethnographic Film; Entertainment, Film and Video Industry; Film History; Film: Genres and Genre Theory; Freedom of the Press; Hegemony and Cultural Resistance; Human–Computer Interfaces; Identity Offline and Online; Information Society; International Advertising, International Communication: History; Journalism; Journalism and Journalists; Libraries; Mass Communication: Normative Frameworks; Mass Media and Cultural Identity; Mass Media and Sports; Mass Media, Political Economy of; Mass Media, Representations in; Mass Media: Introduction and Schools of Thought; Media and Social Movements; Media Effects; Media Effects on Children; Media Events; Media Imperialism; Media Talk Shows; Mobile Communication; Moral Panics; Narrative, Sociology of; New Media and Democracy in the Arab World; New Media and Social Capital; New Media and the Digital Divide; New Media, News Production and Consumption; News Interview; News: General; Online Dating; Photography as a Medium; Political Advertising; Political Communication; Postal Systems; Printing as a Medium; Public Broadcasting; Public Sphere and the Media; Publishing as Medium; Radio as a Medium; Religion and New Media; Reputation; Rhetorical Analysis; Science and Media; Science Communication; Semiotics; Social Media, Social Protest and New Media; Telegraph; Telephone; Television: General; Television: History; Terror and the Internet; Textbooks; Visual Images in the Media.