Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Almanac and Encyclopedia

Difference Between Almanac and Encyclopedia-1

Almanac vs. Encyclopedia

There are several types of reference material that contain general information. Two of the most popular are the encyclopedia and the almanac. It is, however, quite tricky to tell the difference between the two. This is because the former usually has broader coverage of topics that sometimes overlap with those of the latter. Technically, however, they are very different from one another, and each has their respective focus in terms of content. Besides that, they also vary in etymology and socio-historical participation.

The encyclopedia has the most extensive collection of information of all reference materials. An encyclopedia, usually arranged in a set of volumes, can contain information either from all branches of knowledge or only a specific discipline. For instance, there are encyclopedias that include information on politics, medicine, arts, culture, etc., arranged in volumes and put together in one single set. On the other hand, some encyclopedias cover one specific field; an encyclopedia of medicine, for example, specializes in different aspects of medicine and provides more in-depth information than the general variants. Encyclopedic articles are more comprehensive and thorough than those in other sources of reference.

An encyclopedia entry always considers four key elements: the scope, the method of organization, production, and – most importantly – the subject matter. As already mentioned, the scope of an encyclopedia can be either general or focused on a specific discipline. The more focused it is, the deeper the discussion becomes. Encyclopedia entries are usually arranged alphabetically, but they can also be assembled by hierarchical categories or through a combination of both. In the past, they were produced and distributed in print. However, more and more are now migrating to a digital format, which provides a more efficient way to retrieve, edit, and add information.

Difference Between Almanac and Encyclopedia

An almanac is a collection of information concerning historical and topical events, geographical and astronomical findings and statistics, economic development, and other events that have happened in a given year. It is published annually, and thus, unlike an encyclopedia, it discusses a subject only within the context of a particular year. Almanacs are commonly produced in reference to specific countries. They can answer questions such as: “Who won the U.S. Presidential race in the 60s?” “Who was the prime minister of Great Britain in 2008?” “What is the height of the Petronas Towers?” “How does the population of Shenzhen, China compare to that of India?” “Who were the senators of Bolivia in 1970?”

In terms of origins and creation, the encyclopedia came to existence centuries earlier than its counterpart. The oldest collection that can be traced was called ‘Naturalis Historia’ and  was written by a Roman statesman named Pliny the Elder during the 1st century. His work was published AD 77-79. The term ‘almanac’ was first coined in the 1200s by Roger Bacon. It is believed that the term is derived from a Spanish/Arabic term that pertains to astronomical tables.

Modern encyclopedias are now published mostly in digital format. As a result, related topics are more fluidly and conveniently connected. Almanacs today incorporate information from most countries throughout the world through comparative presentation of statistical and graphic data. Both encyclopedias and almanacs are now widely accessible online.


  1. An encyclopedia is a wide-ranging collection of information that can either cover subjects across many disciplines or focus on a specific field.
  2. An almanac is an annual compilation of information concerning socio-historical, geographical, astronomical, economic, and environmental development occurring in a specific year.
  3. The oldest known encyclopedia was published in AD 77-79, while the earliest almanac appeared in the 1200s.
  4. Modern encyclopedias and almanacs are now widely available on the Internet.

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