April 30, 2008

Free Britannica Online for Web Publishers
Miami Beach, United States

The Encyclopedia Britannica is opening up their encyclopedia to "web publishers, including bloggers, webmasters, online journalists, and anyone who writes for the Internet." Better yet: when you link to something, your readers get that article for free as well. The announcement and signup link can be found at http://britannicanet.com/?p=73.

After signing up and waiting a few days, I received my invite today. The online interface is pleasant, reminding me of Microsoft Encarta.

The concept is neat, but after typing in some subjects and comparing them to Wikipedia, I think I've really gotten use to the amount of narration and content found in the Wiki world. Britannica's articles are just as I remember physical encyclopedias to be—full of short, factual sentences. Wikipedia can be verbose and inaccurate at times, but I've really grown to enjoy the resource for what it is.

According to author Clay Shirky and IBM researcher Martin Wattenberg, Wikipedia represents about 100 million hours of human thought. Compare that to 200 billion hours of television watched in the U.S. every year.

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