Books, Reports, Maps!

Along with the online edition of the Ethnologue, we have been working hard here at Ethnologue Central to create a number of print and printable products for those who still prefer the feel of paper between their hands.

For many years, of course, the Ethnologue was primarily available as a book.  Over the trajectory of its development the "volume" grew from the initial 10 page mimeographed circular listing Bible translation needs to a nearly 1,300 page tome that included not only Bible translation information but a fairly comprehensive brief description of thousands of language varieties and a helpful set of ancillary materials in the form of maps, indices, and statistical summaries.  A few times over the years the massiveness of the data being reported motivated the editors to split the "big book" into multiple volumes with different components of the dataset contained in each volume.  If you wanted it all, you had to buy all of the volumes.

With the 17th edition, we have made the web edition the primary means by which we make the Ethnologue data publicly available and have broken up the big book into three separate volumes. The major change, however, is that each of the three volumes is entirely self-contained.  Rather than segment the data categories (language and country data, statistics, maps, indices) into separate volumes, we have created volumes that deal with large geographic areas (the so-called Ethnologue regions: Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Pacific) combining those so that each volume accounts for approximately one-third of the languages of the world.

This strategy produces books that are much more manageable in size and which can be purchased individually to meet the needs of the user.  The books are in press as I write and should be available for purchase very soon.

Even with this strategy there are some users who can be better served by something less than a volume about the languages of Africa and Europe or the Americas and the Pacific or Asia.  They may be only interested in a particular country.  For those users, Ethnologue country reports are now available and can be directly purchased and downloaded from the website.  Each country report is also completely self-contained and has some additional material that isn't available on the website.  Both the regional volumes and the country reports also include all of the maps that are relevant to the contents of the product.

And then, Ethnologue's award-winning maps are also often asked for and can now be downloaded from the website. Some of those are freely available (under our terms of use) and higher-resolution maps can be purchased.

We continue to work on developing other useful derivatives from the Ethnologue database and we'll let you know more about those as they become available.