The Digest was originally a collection of legal writings or court decisions. Later, the term described mainly a compilation of short excerpts of certain writings, which had already been published in other forms. This could be an excerpt of essays, contributions or entire books, which illuminated a subject area. In general, the term therefore means a collection of excerpts from publications.
The term is derived from the Latin digestae, which can be translated with collected data. Thus, the translation already points to what is at stake: namely, a collection [of various extracts from other works]. The term is used mainly in the English-speaking world and is the name of many magazines: Reader’s Digest, Literary Digest, Science Digest.
The publications are of the opinion that, at least in the beginning, they focused on the compilation of other writings, thus enabling their readers to get an overview of the respective subject area. Meanwhile, however, the content concept has changed.
For example, the Reader’s Digest was based in its beginnings on collecting and publishing selected contributions from articles, magazines, books and other works in abridged form and in different languages. However, a pro-American basic attitude emerged, which brought the publisher the critique of a closed world picture.
Nowadays, the magazine consists primarily of its own content and the society behind the series (The Reader’s Digest Association) also spread the program enormously, which is why books, fiction, audio books, CDs and DVDs belong to the program.
Short overview: The most important part of the term at a glance
A collection of legal writings or court decisions was once called Digest. This term is still used in the USA today for such a work.
Later, however, the term meant mainly publications, which mostly appeared regularly and contained a selection of excerpts from other publications. Such types of overview made it possible for the reader to get an overview and to be able to consume the essentials in short form, which is essential in science in particular.
The journal Sputnik, published by the Russian news agency Novosti from 1967, and the main target group of socialist and Western countries, was itself a digest of the Soviet press.
Note: Sometimes the term is also used for short forms and compilations of all kinds. For example, the “Manual Digest” also bears the name in the name, and presents the most important (history, government, customs and customs) about Andorra.