Thursday, 22 Jan, 2009 Current Events

Encyclopedia Britannica 2.0 to Compete with Wikipedia


The popular Encyclopedia Britannica went on-line. The 240-year-old information bank made a huge step into Web 2.0 with the introduction of its online version where anyone can add or edit content.

The online version of Britannica is expected to provide serious competition to Wikipedia. Besides, by contributing to the online source, users will also benefit from the fact that their name will be attached to the submission. Still, Jorge Cauz, Britannica's president, mentioned that all submission to the encyclopedia will be verified by professional editors.

"We're not trying to be a wiki - that's the last thing we want to be. Britannica doesn't offer that voyeuristic benefit. Users won't be able to write anything they want and have it published", he said, adding that Britannica cannot boast the same popularity among users as Wikipedia, having 1.5 visitors each day while Wikipedia registering about 6 million users.

Though the content of Britannica will heavily rely on the source's 2500 - 4500 regular experts, its director expressed hopes that with the continuous development of the web, the encyclopedia will be able to attract a higher number of potential contributors. Mr. Cauz mentioned that the online information source is popular among many top universities and Britannica's main goal is to attract as many experts as possible to improve its content, reports Times Online.

Information that was submitted by non-academic users and non-Britannica scholars is going to be stored in a particular section, apart from the content submitted by experts. In addition, each article will include a history of changes with the names of the users that contributed.

Additional information about the features of Britannica will be offered over the next 6 months. There will be information regarding the article rating system, questions that users can ask Britannica's contributors and more. According to Mr. Cauz, the idea to make certain changes in Britannica occurred after a lot of feedback was gathered from its readers.

He added that it took a long time to prepare the necessary equipment that would help make changes more promptly. "We still want people to have to go through the editorial workflow. We are developing a curated knowledge database", said Mr. Cauz.

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