A new edition of the Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy includes revised content to guide public diplomacy practice in the 2020s.

January 28, 2019

Soon after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, international aid began pouring in — but observers noted a degree of confusion and a lack of coordination among the many groups trying to help. [...] The remedy for this — and for a host of other problems commonly experienced in humanitarian settings, she thought — could be an online reference work presenting the results of field research, scholarly analysis and informed debate for the NGO community: A humanitarian encyclopedia.

According to Matthew Barzun, U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, diplomats in the digital age have a lot to learn from the story of Encarta, Microsoft’s ill-fated digital encyclopedia. In the early 2000s, Encarta briefly outsold the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica, historically the top seller in the field. But by 2009, despite being backed by the richest company in the world, Encarta had been discontinued. It was unable to compete with Jimmy Wales’ user-generated, user-audited Wikipedia, which had become and remains the predominant model for sharing knowledge.