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January 22, 2009

Online Encyclopedia Competition Heats Up: Wikipedia vs. Britannica

I was wondering when Britannica would jump into the online world.. Well the time is here: Techmeme posted an article by the Sydney Morning Herald that Britannica is going online.

This is great for families - the more encyclopedia's that go online the better. When I am posting or trying to get definitions for things - I currently do check Wikipedia. Wikipedia may be powered by user generated content - but I use that in combintation with other sources to get my information (I think every person visiting every online site should do their own vetting anyway). I find the information on Wikipedia to be easy to find, read and comes in multiple languages (for those that need it).  I use the Wikipedia English version. The word "wiki" is usually a site that allows anyone to add information (open source at it's best). The about section of Wikipedia describes that anyone from around the world can edit Wikipedia, but they do have staff that manages the site overall (and editing policies).

When I think of offline (book) encyclopedias I do think of Scholastic and Britannica. Scholastic already has many online resources, but I never seemed to go to the Britannica website. After reading this, I went to the Britannica website and saw their categories and a section for educators. But nothing that calls out "online encyclopedia".

In my house, we have multiple Scholastic Encyclopedias geared towards my childrens ages. I can't see buying Britannica Encyclopedia's anytime soon. But I would take a look at their site if they did publish an online version...


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