The Dictionary of Human Geography has long been the gold standard for reference works in the field. The first edition was published in 1981 and was edited by Derek Gregory, Ron Johnston and David M. Smith. In a world of readers, encyclopedias, key thinkers, companions, and handbooks, the Dictionary occupies a special place. In an admittedly less crowded marketplace of the 1980s it was the one reference book many graduate students would actually pay for. (It’s still the one I recommend to grad students today.)
I’m very pleased therefore to say that I’ve agreed to be on the editorial team of a new, revised edition–the 6th. As Derek Gregory announced on his blog recently the other editors are Clive Barnett, Diana Davis, Geraldine Pratt, Joanne Sharp, and Henry Yeung. Derek remains as Editor-in-Chief.
Over the years the Dictionary has changed–most notably an increase in size (content) and contributors. One of the questions for any book such as this is the one of relevance in an era not only of Wikipedia (which I also recommend to students!) but of ebooks (and supplies of a shadowy legal/moral status thereof –a short Google search will give you the entire 5th edition for free). More substantially, there is the question of content relevance; the last edition came out in 2009 and the next edition wouldn’t be out before 2017. (There was a 5-year gap between the 1st and 2nd editions, then gaps of 8, 6, and 9 years).
I’m very much looking forward to working on the new edition; we’ll have an opportunity to engage with the exciting developments in critical cartography and the geoweb, among other things. But I’m also interested in seeing how the book can remain relevant in the face of the challenges above (and others no doubt!).