A recent review (BMCR 2014.07.40) greeted the arrival of The Virgil Encyclopedia with admiration and approval. The online posting of the review is now prefaced, however, with an apology from the editors, which we are glad to repeat here. Professor Goldberg in reviewing had included information about the online edition of the Encyclopedia that was omitted when we transmitted it to our readers. The mistake was awkward inasmuch as Professor Goldberg made concluding comments about the future of reference works such as this which read very differently and very unhelpfully in the absence of complete information about this reference work.
As we understand it, the state of play is that there is indeed an e-version of The Virgil Encyclopedia available from Wiley-Blackwell, chiefly of interest to institutional subscribers. From the descriptions we have seen, it is an e-book in the contemporary mode, that is, a digital representation of a traditional print volume. It contains internal links, but does not reside in the fullness of the web of outward, to say nothing of inward, links. In Professor Goldberg’s review, he expresses regret that more movement in that direction did not happen and by implication suggests that more will happen in the new Oxford Classical Dictionary for which he will be responsible. Professors Thomas and Ziolkowski, editors of The Virgil Encyclopedia, are understandably unsettled that the review was released in a way that exacerbated intellectual disagreement with a muddled statement of facts for which we are responsible. For that indeed, we do apologize.
The larger question of the fate of reference works is one that many will continue to discuss. As always these days, we live in a moment of dazzling innovation that will, doubtless, seem palely antique more quickly than we might imagine.