Recently, Britannica has announced that 2012 print edition will be the last edition of Britannica encyclopedia as the consequence of declining sales. The Encyclopedia Britannica has been published continuously since 1768, appearing in fifteen official editions. For many decades it is considered as a reputed reference and education tool.
Let’s check out the major 5 reasons why the free Wikipedia is better than Encyclopedia Britannica.
Instead of buying Britannica which can cost $1400 for 32 volumes or subscribing to it online, which also is priced at $70 a year, it is better to use the free Wikipedia. Thousands of contributors have helped keep Wikipedia free and have voluntarily shared knowledge through millions of articles.
#2. Regular updates
It is an obvious fact that while looking for information online you want something that is upto date. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and is updated regularly by thousands of people around the world. Most times events are added in almost real-time while printed versions simply cannot match this sort of continuously updated content.
#3. Online support
Wikipedia is open to anonymous and collaborative editing. The contributors of Wikipedia consist of 700000+ people around the world whereas Britannica have 4000 contributors including 110 Nobel Prize winners. The sheer large number of people contributing to Wikipedia makes its probably the most well supported repository of online content.
Since 2010 version of Britannica, 8000 copies have been sold generating $11 million in revenue whereas Wikimedia generated the funds $60 million in the mean time. The underlying fact about this is that $60 million was raised through voluntary donations and not through placing ads which would have earned Wikipedia a lot more money. Wikpedia is run only on donations as it is a non-profit organization.
A study conducted by IBM researchers in 2003 found that content on Wikipedia had self healing capabilities. This is precisely because of its editing model. There are a large number of good editors who overcome the issue of problematic editors who might cause mischief. Also as the editors are voluntary it means they work as a community and end up learning and getting better over time. This has led to more accurate content on Wikipedia over time.
Britannica on the other hand has far more accurate information than Wikipedia does which is expected of a paid service.
If you liked this post you might like taking a look at this Infographic on the Rise of Wikipedia.
What are our view on Wikipedia vs Britannica? Do drop in your comments.