Chicago (IL) – In effort to compete with Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britannica company is opening up their online version to editing by contributors everywhere. Unlike Wikipedia, however, all changes will be reviewed and edited before being posted.
The new website features will enable the inclusion of user generated content, and will be available on the site within the next twenty four hours.
Encyclopedia Britannica is a 241 year old publication, and they are making these changes to their site to encourage more community input, more use, and – most importantly – to increase their rankings on search engines.
Unlike Wikipedia updates, all of the additions and changes made on Britannica will have to be reviewed and edited before the changes go live on the site. The company has set a 20-minute turnaround to update the site with user-submitted edits to existing articles – though with the popularity of Wikipedia, this may not be possible if the service takes off.
The concept behind user generated content is that much of it will eventually appear in the printed version of the encyclopedia – which is published every two years.
Not only will Britannica.com offer community editing features, it will also allow approved users to add their own creative content which will be placed alongside the authorized article.
Individuals wishing to edit the Britannica website will have to register utilizing their real name and address prior to modifying or writing their own articles. This differs from Wikipedia which allows anonymous modifications to be made with only the user’s IP address being logged.
Encyclopedia Britannica was first published in 1768. Their virtual space was founded in 1994 and contains articles comprised of over 46 million words.
Wikipedia was founded in 2001 and is available in 250 languages and attracts 700 million visitors annually. Wikipedia’s recent public request fund drive was able to raise nearly $4.5 million dollars in just under three week (see TG Daily’s analysis). This may be part of the driving force for Britannica’s new movement as they can see how popular and receptive the public is to user-editable online content resources.