April 08, 2006

Wikipedia versus Encyclopedia Britannica

UPDATE:
Encylopedia Britannica has struck back at the Nature study described below. The 20-page PDF points out all the inaccuracies in the study.


On December 15, 2005, BBC News discussed the research conducted by the British journal Nature (v.438, pages 900-901, December 15, 2005) that looked at the accuracy of Wikipedia versus the Encyclopedia Britannica. The article, called Wikipedia Survives Research Test, specifically focused on the accuracy as it relates to scientific entries. The reviewers looked at articles from both sources, but were not told of their origin.
  • 4 major conceptual errors were found in each
  • Factual errors, omissions or misleading statements: 162 in Wikipedia and 123 in Britannica
  • Reviewers found that Wikipedia entries were often poorly structured and confused

For the Case community:
The Nature article can be accessed directly.
The Encyclopedia Britannica Online is also available.

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Science and Technology Wiki

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Comments

gravatarPosted by S Willaims
Posted on April 6, 2009 10:16 PM

The comments about Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia are interesting.

Encyclopaedia Britannica did not think that an open source product like Wikipedia would significantly challenge the credibility of its brand. They were dead wrong and Encyclopaedia Britannica's staff seriously misread the global market. They are now very concerned about the widespread use of a free Wikipedia vs their paid subscription model. From a corporate and financial perspective, Encyclopaedia Britannica is in significant trouble.

It will be interesting to see if Encyclopaedia Britannica survives, but recent indications do not look good. It is the combination of a) the success of Wikipedia and b) improved search engines that has put financial pressure on Encyclopedia Britannica over recent years. Many libraries, schools & individuals are questioning the need to pay for sets of expensive books, or to subscribe to Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, when the content is free on the internet, and much more comprehensive.





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