Britannica Adds a Dash of Wikipedia

Soon after rumors started doing the rounds that Wikipedia was going to limit the ability to edit articles, Britannica has said it will allow users to contribute to articles.

Earlier in the week, news emerged that Wikipedia was planning on putting restrictions in place when it comes to editing. Only trusted and reliable users would be allowed to update or edit articles, newcomers and unreliable sources would be allowed to make edits, but these would only appear to the general public once they had been approved by someone more reliable.

According to the BBC, the Encyclopedia Britannica has unveiled a plan to keep the reference work up to date; readers and contributing experts will help expand and maintain entries online.

The Beeb reports that the experts who have already contributed will be encouraged to keep articles up to date as well as be given a chance to promote their own expertise. All well and good, right? Here’s where it gets interesting: selected readers will also be able to contribute. However for those of you thinking this is the end of Britannica and the beginning of Wikipedia II, fear not.

Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopedia Britannica assured readers in a blog post that the company is not abdicating its responsibility as publishers “or burying it under the now-fashionable ‘wisdom of the crowds’” and added that the Britannica still believes that the creation and documentation of knowledge is a collaborative process but not a democratic one.

The Britannica blog details how users can edit Britannica content. A “Suggest Edit” button allows a user to edit any section of an article and submit the changes to Britannica’s editors, it explains. However, Britannica warns that these are suggestions and only suggestions and that they must be approved by editors.

“We’re eager for editorial suggestions from our readers, and we’ll review and act on them as quickly as we can, but no one can actually change a Britannica article except our editors.”

Check out the BBC for the full story or the Britannica blog for more.

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  • Pei-chen
    No one will use Britannica simply because it isn't free.
  • Milleman
    Yepp... They will make money on what the contributors make for free. Isn't fair at all! If they, on the other hand, paid the contributers, it probably would be more interresting. Be working free for someone else that cashes in on my efforts... No thank you!