Thursday, June 12, 2008

Britannica vs Wikipedia

Have you heard people suggesting that Wikipedia is no good on the basis that anyone can edit the articles? Have you thought it yourself? At least one contributor to the Britannica blog certainly held similar views - but, the times they are a-changin'!

It seems that Britannica is "throwing open its elegantly-bound covers to the masses. It will allow the “user community” (in the words of the encyclopedia’s blog) to contribute their own articles, which will be clearly marked and run alongside the edited reference pieces".
Josh Fischman - The Wired Campus

Here's the announcement from Britannica. Fancy that!

Thanks to Michael Stephens for the heads-up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia, with a 97% share of the online encyclopedia market, has forced Microsoft to shut down Encarta. How long will it be before Wikipedia claims the prize scalp of Encyclopaedia Britannica?

Encyclopaedia Britannica did not think that an open source product like Wikipedia would significantly challenge the credibility of its brand. They were dead wrong and Encyclopaedia Britannica's staff seriously misread the global market. They are now very concerned about the widespread use of a free Wikipedia vs their paid subscription model. From a corporate and financial perspective, Encyclopaedia Britannica is in significant trouble.

It will be interesting to see if Encyclopaedia Britannica survives, but recent indications do not look good. It is the combination of a) the success of Wikipedia and b) improved search engines that has put financial pressure on Encyclopedia Britannica over recent years. Many libraries, schools & individuals are questioning the need to pay for sets of expensive books, or to subscribe to Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, when the content is free on the internet, and much more comprehensive.

Over the next year or so we will see the continued demise of Britannica as it becomes ever less relevant in a Wikipedia-dominated landscape.