Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., dating back to 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland, has come a long way. Initially created by printer Colin Macfarquhar and engraver Andrew Bell, it was intended to serve a new era of enlightenment and scholarship. Macfarquhar and Bell began by forming a "Society of Gentleman" to publish their new reference work, an alphabetically ordered encyclopedia that would be "compiled upon a new plan in which the different Sciences and Arts are digested into distinct Treatises or Systems." Its chief virtue was to be "utility."
Now, 234 years later, JavaTM technology is adding new utility to the encyclopedia, which has grown from a three-volume set completed in 1771, to 32 volumes today. The encyclopedia is also published in a host of digital forms, including the 2003 Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite, available on CD and DVD. Creative applications of Java technology have made movement of content among print, Web and CD-ROM products practical and efficient.