Britannica Follows Wikipedia's Lead

Britannica Follows Wikipedia's Lead


In response to the massive popularity of Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britannica is inviting readers to add their own articles.

A long time ago, back in the days where the internet was just a series of 1s and 0s, the sum total of knowledge came from the 20 or so Encyclopedia Britannica volumes gathering dust on your bookshelf until a school project demanded you look something up.

With the advent of the internet, the sum of human knowledge was poured into one place that anyone with a 'net connection could reach: Wikipedia. It's free, updated on a daily basis, covers virtually every subject you could think of, and best of all, doesn't take up room in your house. Faced with near imminent extinction, Britannica is taking a page from Wikipedia's book and inviting you to send in new articles.

While there is no payment for these articles, and the articles themselves will be kept separate from the professional articles, (and not appear in the print edition) your name will appear alongside to promote your definition.

"Britannica is widely used in the academic market. Many of the top universities around the world have access to it. We want to tap into the many experts that may have something to say that could improve our content," said Jorge Cauz, president of Britannica. "I think the future is likely going to be that in every media segment there has to be a symbiotic relationship between editor and reader."

And while Wikipedia celebrates its eighth birthday, Britannica recently celebrated its 240th. But can they make the leap into the new millennia with this slow a start?

(By the way, the above books come at the knockdown price of £745)

Source: The Daily Telegraph


If I ever became a teacher. Reading & reviewing the Encyclopedia Brittanica would be my detention tool of choice

If I ever became a teacher. Reading & reviewing the Encyclopedia Brittanica would be my detention tool of choice

Oooh, you're a bad person.

Encyclopedia Britannica will never best Wikipedia. It's following is too freakin' large.

If someone offered me a Britannica set I would say yes, but those things are too damn expensive even if they are "official sources". I do like the direction but they are opening Pandora's box because who do you have to be to be entered into the Britannica cataloge?

I think in the end, all that matters is what you need to look up. If you want goofy pop culture, Wiki has to be your source, because none of the "real" encyclopedias will touch it. They day they stop being like American dictionaries - only including what academics consider legit - and start including EVERYTHING, then forget Wiki and go with the professional. But if Britannica doesn't have entries on the Transformers, He-Man and Lacuna Coil, then we've got no choice.

I suppose it's nice that Britannica is willing to open up their servers to user-submitted stuff to cover what they won't. But it seems really last-ditch. People are already using Wiki for what it has that nothing else does, and using Britannica or other professional encyclopedias for information they assume is from qualified individuals. It's cute that the industry boys have finally realized how out of touch they are, but I highly doubt they'll steal any of Wiki's thunder just because they have the name. 9 out of 10 people under the age of 50 probably don't care.

Those fools! Wikipedia has already devoured the minds of hundreds of editors. With them slaved to it's will it has gained Self determination! It has become sentient!

It will not stand to have a competitor for it's dominion of the net!

They should have a very strict filter, because not long ago the Encyclopedia people mentioned again how bad Wikipedia was for letting everybody write whatever they want.
TheBluesader is right, Wikipedia will remain much more useful for some things, especially add if you add other, more specialized wikis.

But can they make the leap into the new millennia with this slow a start?

They should take on one millennium at a time.
Baby steps. :)
Digital paper will likely take the place of the old-fashioned stuff we have now, but I'm not so sure by then Encyclopedia Britannica will even be around any more.

I have a deep fondness for Britannica; we had a full set in my house, and any argument over any point of science or history was always settled by reference to them.

I'm rooting for them!

They better have a good plan for this, because Wikipedia isn't exactly the most reliable of resources, and self-proclaimed experts are everywhere...

I still have a soft spot in my heart for a good, solid book that's been written and edited by knowledgeable professionals. For so many things, you don't need instant, up-to-the-minute changes, and what you do need is an authoritative treatment that presents the well-settled facts. You don't have to only use the paper version of the encyclopedia, of course - a searchable digital version would be preferable in many cases.

I do feel that the ability to actually read, research and annotate using real books is something that all children should learn, first, before they learn the shortcuts of digital media. Too many adults I work with think that Googling a topic is the ultimate authority, so I know something's been lost along the way.

I always found britannica to be a little stuffy, wikipedia to be too strict (so ironic they strive to use only reliable sources but are not a reliable source academically themselves). My poisons of choice are Encyclopedia Dramatica and the Uncyclopedia; at least there I know its killing my brain cells from being so stupid rather than so boring.


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