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Matthew Moore, in the Telegraph, reports that the scholarly 240-year-old Encyclopedia Britannica, the reference work of all reference works, will allow readers to contribute and edit entries on a new section of its website. http://www.britannica.com/
Academic writers and amateur enthusiasts will be able to submit articles, although they will be checked by the encyclopedia’s professional staff.
Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopedia still in print. It is currently compiled by a team of 100 editors and up to 4500 expert contributors.
The published edition will not be affected by the changes; articles written by users will only be available in a special section of the website — separate from the professional articles.
The president of Britannica, Jorge Cauz, says that the encyclopedia was not trying to rival Wikipedia and would remain a “different type of animal.”
“Britannica is widely used in the academic market,” he says. “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 the content. 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.”
These reader-writers will receive no payment for submitting articles, but their names will be displayed alongside their pieces if they are published.
Wikipedia describes itself as the free encyclopedia that everyone can edit. It has an archive of 12 million articles and is the most-read reference on the web.
source: Matthew Moore’s article at www.telegraph.co.uk on 1/23/09.
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