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In the news

Britannica takes out advertisements

As reported last week, Encyclopædia Britannica took out ads in several major English-language newspapers to dispute the Nature comparison of Britannica and Wikipedia (see archived story). A scan of the ad is available in the article "Another round: Britannica versus Wikipedia" at The Institute for the Future of the Book. The article, by Ray Cha, concludes:

In the end, [...] the Nature article in question has a marginal relevance to the bigger picture. The main point is that Wikipedia works amazingly well and contains articles that Britannica never will. It is a revolutionary way to collaboratively share knowledge. That we should give consideration to the source of our information we encounter, be it the Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia, Nature or the New York Times, is nothing new.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, a newspaper for university faculty and administration, published "'Encyclopaedia Britannica' Assails Article That Put It on a Par With Wikipedia" (subscriber only) on April 7. It provided an overview of the dispute, and said of Wikipedia:

Wikipedia has generally steered clear of the fight and has simply updated its site to include the latest salvos between Nature and Britannica. Wikipedia is not in competition with any traditional encyclopedia, according to its Web site, and has corrected all of the errors identified by Nature. "A strength of Wikipedia in general is its transparency," its site said.


The Repository in Canton, Ohio published a long overview article called Wikipedia: Local read, covering the pros and cons of the increasing use of Wikipedia by high school students.

The Search Engine Journal blog posted a short blurb titled "How To Link Spam Wikipedia", linking to the observations of blogger Peter Davis at "Wikipedia and Link Spammers - A “How-to” Guide".

The Washington Post reports that Wikipedia traffic was up 275% between February 2005 and February 2006 in their article "New Trends In Online Traffic".

The Guardian has an article on Wikipedia, "A thirst for knowledge".

Wikipedia down!

After this weekend's down time, published "Google School: Search a web site when it’s down", a guide to using the Google to search a cached version of Wikipedia. Lifehacker has published many other articles about Wikipedia in the past.

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If Nature gave Britannica the full information they want and Britannica reanalysed it (neutrally of course :) ) it would be grossly misleading to publish it as a comparison of Britannica and Wikipedia as they are now as the article versions used are probably now more than five months old. I think Britannica is simply trying to intimidate other publications into not carrying out such studies in the future, which are likely to be more favourable for Wikipedia. I compare Britannica's biography of the day with the Wikipedia article on the same person, and increasingly often the Wikipedia article is better - and Britannica couldn't complain about the selection of material in this case. 15:18, 11 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]


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