Page last updated at 00:19 GMT, Saturday, 24 January 2009

Britannica reaches out to the web

Wikipedia logo, Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedia is put together entirely with the help of its volunteer experts

The Encyclopaedia Britannica has unveiled a plan to let readers help keep the reference work up to date.

Under the plan, readers and contributing experts will help expand and maintain entries online.

Experts will also be enrolled in a reward scheme and given help to promote their command of a subject.

However, Britannica said it would not follow Wikipedia in letting a wide range of people make contributions to its encyclopaedia.

User choice

"We are not abdicating our responsibility as publishers or burying it under the now-fashionable 'wisdom of the crowds'," wrote Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopaedia Britannica in a blog entry about the changes.

He added: "We believe that the creation and documentation of knowledge is a collaborative process but not a democratic one."

Britannica plans to do more with the experts that have already made contributions. They will be encouraged to keep articles up to date and be given a chance to promote their own expertise.

Selected readers will also be invited to contribute and many readers will be able to use Britannica materials to create their own works that will be featured on the site.

However, it warned these would sit alongside the encyclopaedia entries and the official material would carry a "Britannica Checked" stamp, to distinguish it from the user-generated content.

Alongside the move towards more openness, will be a re-design of the Britannica site and the creation of the web-based tools that visitors can use to put together their own reference materials.

Britannica has unveiled a beta, or trial, version of what will become the finished Britannica Online website.

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Wikipedia survives research test
15 Dec 05 |  Technology
The web's future is a 'village'
09 Sep 08 |  Technology
Students assessed with Wikipedia
06 Mar 07 |  Education
Wikipedia offers access offline
18 Apr 07 |  Technology
First look at vast 'book of life'
26 Feb 08 |  Science & Environment
Students 'should use Wikipedia'
07 Dec 07 |  Technology

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific