Myanmar EncyclopediaThe Myanmar Encyclopedia
During the first years of Myanmar's liberation, Myanmar saw a noteworthy U Nu initiation to write and publish its own encyclopedia that would be the proud of the people. Vol. 1 of the Myanmar Encyclopedia appeared in 1954, more than 60 years ago. After 24 years, it took until 1977 to finish the release of all 15 books.
To be old has both advantages and disadvantages, and while the Myanmar Encyclopedia had a foretaste of old readings, its styles were somewhat outdated, the facts were either partial or no longer relevant, and it had little reporting on global events in the last sixty years. Publishing an encyclopedia has been a nightmare since the time of Myanmar's old monarchs.
Metkhayar's first encyclopedia was written in the early 1800s during the time of King Bagyidaw (1819-1837), the 7th sovereign of Myanmar's last Konbaung family. As Myanmar was under Japan's control during World War II, another script was written, which was damaged during the fighting.
Eventually, six years after the country's 1948 Independence, Myanmar released the first edition of the Myanmar Encyclopedia in 1954. This included mainly celebrities, life stories, flora and fauna, geographical, artistic, scientific, economic, practical sciences, Myanmar cultural, entertainment, health and historic happenings. Thanks to the combined effort of Sarpay Beikman (Literaturhaus), the Ministry of Information, the Tun Foundation, professionals and authors, translator and editor, a new, up-to-date encyclopedia will now be out.
"A new Myanmar encyclopedia was launched in June under the patronage of Information Minister Dr. Pe Myint and the Chairman of the Tun Foundation U Thein Tun. The chairman is U Thaw Kaung, Maung Khin Min and Dr. Boe Hlaing head the Myanmar and global editors.
This new encyclopedia's policy involved upgrading old themes with facts of relevance to the present time, maintaining old themes that no longer need to be updated, omitting themes in the 15 no longer pertinent, preventing the use of slangs, and switching from stereotypes to new use.
Whilst it is important to update, it is also important to maintain the old scholars' styles. There were only 55 member states of the United Nations in the case of geographical regions in 1954 when the first book was published. ASEAN was not one of the most important headlines in the old encyclopedia. Concentrating on the formation of masses has made China's own evolution more efficient than India, he said, and encyclopedias are a kind of formation of masses.
Two new encyclopedia books on the first Myanmar epistle entitled kissyi are scheduled for completion in early 2018. Two further issues will be published in 2 or 3 years. The new Myanmar Encyclopedia will have a collection of about 25 books with a proportion of about 75% Myanmar themes to 25% worldwide thematic.
"There' s also going to be an on-line edition of the new Myanmar Encyclopedia," said Maung Thway Thit. If you are inquisitive, you know one or more encyclopedias, the most popular of which are Britannica, World Book, Encarta and Wikipedia. Encyclopedias are migrating from print to on-line as technologies progress and the web becomes increasingly accessible.
Two encyclopaedia types - Microsoft Encarta, built on a traditional authoring approach with associated professionals, and Wikipedia, built on a volunteer community contributio. In any case, encyclopedias in print still play an important part. The new and up-dated Myanmar Encyclopedia will be launching next year with enormous efforts from both the government and the business sector, which will be a great honor for the nation and its population.
Editorial note: U Thein Tun, the proprietor of Myanmar Consolidated Media, which is published by the Myanmar Times, is chairman of the Tun Foundation, which is part of the new Myanmar Encyclopaedia.