Encyclopedia Britannica following in Wiki’s footsteps

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has become one of the most popular sites on the internet. With its user-driven model allowing readers to edit content, the service is a popular destination for fact-seekers.  But now, it seems the website has contenders. The Encyclopedia Britannica, a printed encyclopedia published every two years since the 1760s, is now moving into the online sector.

The encyclopedia will now appear online, with the ability for users to edit articles. A staff of freelance writers and experts will fact-check each edit before it is added to the site, with a 20-minute turnaround.

Britannica’s president Jorge Cauz tells The Age that while the printed encyclopedia will still continue, but with many changes from the online version added. But Cauz also took a swipe at his online counterpart, claiming Wikipedia’s quality could be better.

“It’s very uneven, the facts are not always correct, the model contains a lot of pitfalls,” he says.

“What we are trying to do is shifting… to a much more pro-active role for the user and reader, where the reader is not only going to learn from reading the article but by modifying the article and, importantly, by maybe creating his own content or her own content.”

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