Encyclopedia Britannica Goes Wiki

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As I mentioned in my last post, I was a bit distracted by household chores last week, so I missed the official announcement that Encyclopedia Britannica was going to adopt a wiki format. I did hear a little snippet on NPR that led me to this article on Wired News from last week. I wonder if librarians are nervous about this change or view it as pathway into finally understanding Wikipedia?

Personally, I am quite thrilled to see Encyclopedia Britannica make this change in philosophy. Right now I am working my way through Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and I’m growing more and more convinced that mass collaboration is our future. I’d hate to see a valuable resource like Britannica disappear just because they couldn’t join the 21st Century. I have had lots of experience with Wikipedia and for the most part I have always found this resource to be highly accurate. Granted controversial topics or brand-new entries may be a bit biased or inaccurate, but this also leads to a great conversation between my students and I about checking multiple sources. I never had this conversation with my teachers when I was a middle school student. I just assumed that if I found something in the library it must have been accurate and unbiased. How untrue!

Joe

Photo: Encyclopedia Britannica 11th Edition on Flickr

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