The first five editions of The Columbia Encyclopedia were published in 1935, 1950, 1963, 1975, and 1993. All editions owe a debt of gratitude to Clark Fisher Ansley, the editor of the first edition, but the third edition also owes a debt to the second, and so on down to today. However, as the longest period of time between editions was that between the fourth and the fifth, and the shortest that between the fifth and the present sixth, it seems particularly appropriate to acknowledge the work of the editors, consultants, and advisers of the fifth edition.

The editors of the fifth edition were Barbara A. Chernow and George A. Vallasi. The consultants for the fifth edition were Peter J. Awn (humanities); Richard Bulliet (history); Saul B. Cohen (geography); Kelvin J. Lancaster (social sciences); Don Melnick (life sciences); and Erick J. Weinberg (physical sciences).

Academic advisers in the humanities for the fifth edition were: Ali Asani (Islam); Tom Baker (music); Ian Bent (music); Monica Berger (popular music); Pamela Biehl (Protestantism); Maurice Charney (film and drama); Antoine Compagnon (French literature); Jonathan K. Crary (American art); Vidya Deheijia (Eastern, primitive, and other art); Andrew Delbanco (American literature); Osborn Elliott (print and broadcast journalism); Robert Ellwood (minority religion); Iris M. Fanger (dance); Luigi Fontanella (Italian literature); Susan Hall (African literature); Inge D. Halpert (German, Dutch, and Yiddish literature); William H. Harkins (Russian and Slavic literature); Jay Harris (Judaism); Holland Hendrix (Latin and Greek literature and ancient religion); David Scott Kastan (British literature up to Dickens); Charles Larmore (philosophy); Maristella Lorch (Italian literature); Diane Marting (Spanish-American literature); Richard A. Norris (the Bible); Adolf K. Placzek (architecture); John Malcolm Russell (European art up to 1600); Michael Seidel (British literature since Dickens); Robert Somerville (Roman Catholicism); Irwin Stern (Spanish, Portuguese, and Brazilian literature); Janis Tomlinson (European art since 1600); Marsha L. Wagner (East Asian literature); James T. Walsh (music); Paul B. Watt (Asian religion).

Academic advisers in the social sciences for the fifth edition were: Vincent Blasi (law); Robert Carneiro (anthropology and archaeology); Lawrence Cremin (education); Donald Dewey (business, economics, and labor); Sigmund Diamond (sociology); Robert Jervis (political science and government); William Labov (language); Ellen Condliffe Lagemann (education); Deborah Mandelbaum (language); Benjamin Rader (sports and games).

Academic advisers in history for the fifth edition were: Karl Bottigheimer (Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand up to 1837); Caroline Walker Bynum (medieval Europe); David Cannadine (Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand since 1837); Mark Carnes (U.S. and Canadian history since 1939); Ainslie T. Embree (India and South East Asia); Carol Gluck (Japan and the Pacific Rim since 1900); W.V. Harris (ancient history); Robert Hymes (China, Japan, and Korea up to 1900); Graham Irwin (Africa); Gari Ledyard (China, Japan, and Korea up to 1900); Robert M. Levine (Latin America); Edward Malefakis (Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece since 1500); Daniel A. Metraux (Japan and the Pacific Rim since 1900); David Northrup (Africa); Alex Roland (military history); James P. Shenton (U.S. and Canadian history, 1860-1939); Reeva S. Simon (Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia); Willem Smit (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, and Scandinavia since 1600); Martin Torodash (U.S. history up to 1860); Mark Von Hagen (Russia and East Europe); Isser Woloch (France, Belgium, and Luxembourg since 1500); Madeleine Zelin (China, Japan, and Korea since 1900).

Academic advisers in the life sciences for the fifth edition were: Sharon Akabas (food and nutrition); Ermelinda Bonaccio (anatomy and physiology); Douglas D. Daly (botany); Ellen C. Dierenfeld (food and nutrition); Stephen M. Factor (pathology); John D. Frame (medicine); John L. Gittleman (vertebrate zoology); Irving I. Gottesman (psychology and psychiatry); Eric Holtzman (cell biology, biochemistry, and genetics); William C. Kennard (agriculture); Jeffrey T. Laitman (anatomy and physiology); Mary C. Pearl (environmental studies and conservation); Kenneth Robinson (agriculture); Judith E. Winston (invertebrate zoology).

Academic advisers in geography for the fifth edition were: Robert Aageenbrug (Low Countries); Charles R. Bentley (polar regions); William Berentsen (Eastern Europe); Thomas D. Boswell (Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean); John E. Brush (South Asia); Kenneth E. Corey (Japan and Korea); Daniel W. Gade (Spain and Portugal); Rowland Illick (Middle East); Victor Konrad (Canada); Gordon R. Lewthwaite (New Zealand); Ian R. Manners (Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta); Tom McKnight (Pacific Islands); Julian V. Minghi (France); Janice Monk (Australia); Peter O. Muller (United States); James L. Newman (Africa); Robert Ostergren (Scandinavia); Clifton W. Pannell (China); Neil Reid (Great Britain and Ireland); David J. Robinson (South America); Allan Rodgers (former Soviet Union, Baltic nations, and Italy); Robert Sinclair (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland); Richard Ulack (Southeast Asia).

Academic advisers in the physical sciences for the fifth edition were: Keith Barker (electrical engineering, computers, chemical engineering, and mining); Hyman Bass (mathematics); C. K. Chu (mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and aerospace); Gerald Feinberg (physics); Robert A. Gross (mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and aerospace); David Helfand (astronomy); Robert M. Kennedy (general and organic chemistry); H. E. Meadows (electrical engineering, computers, chemical engineering, and mining); John Mutter (earth sciences); Gerard Parkin (inorganic chemistry, metallurgy, and crystallography); Erick J. Weinberg (physics).