JES: Just Educational Services

Pick Publications Database

Click to enlarge

Encylopedia Pick, First Edition

Jonathan E. Sisk

Publisher: Pick Systems

Published: 1992

Price: $50

Pagination: 1432pp

Comments from Jonathan E. Sisk:

In this first edition, every topic was in alphabetical order, like an encyclopedia. There was a very good reason for this: Dick Pick wanted it that way.

When Dick commissioned me to write this, I knew it would be unpopular in this presentation format. That's why I built a (Pick) database - later to get its own identity as EPick - out of each discrete topic (2345 discrete topics, to be exact), which could then be sorted in any order for future editions.

This edition was by far the most comprehensive. In subsequent editions, much of the contents of the first edition was systematically removed, including such things as examples, "see also's", compatibility indexes and virtually all of the "white space". This resulted in a much more compact print format at the expense of containing less information.

Advanced Pick Keyboard Layout
Click to enlarge

The documentation database I created evolved into Pick's on-line Help processor, which we named "EPick". For the very first time, every single token in the entire database / operating system was documented and available on demand.

As a historical note, EPick used the Update Processor as its input device. This necessitated learning the keyboard layout that made the old WordStar keyboard layout look easy by comparison. We have included a photo of the handy Advanced Pick Keyboard Layout card that fledgling EPickers kept next to their keyboard.

Raining Data (formerly Pick Systems) still offers EPick On-line.

You can also still get an account-save or Acrobat (print) edition of its modern-day descendent, The D3 Reference Manual. It is a modern-day demonstration of how subsequent editions of a reference work can contain less information.

After the first printed edition, I continued to work on the contents of Encyclopedia Pick and EPick, but had nothing to do with subsequent printings.

It may be of historical interest or possibly a small conceit to note that this database was designed to behave like a modern-day Web page, with hyperlinks to related subjects, and the Wiki-like property of being open for collaborative comments from its users, several years before the Web came out.

Visit NuWiki.com to see how modern Pick documentation is being done.

Get Firefox! Valid CSS!