When I was in third grade, my mother borrowed a set of encyclopedias from my grandmother to put on a new bookshelf in the living room. The books were just for decoration, with their antique-y red leather covers and gilt-edged pages. But I, being the reader type, began to actually use them.

Ok. Now. This set of encyclopedias, called the Book of Knowledge, was printed circa 1937. But I was eight years old, so I didn’t see the problem this time-warp reference material presented when writing reports for school. Instead I only saw the beauty of it: I could copy almost word-for-word right out if its pages, and no one would know, because my teacher most certainly did not have the Book of Knowledge sitting around her house to check up on me.

What did my teacher think when I cited a 50 year-old encyclopedia in my bibliographies? I guess my reports were on timeless things like buttercups and Andrew Jackson. But still.

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