Encyclopaedia Britannica plans to create own on-line community
Encyclopaedia Britannica wants to create an online community of experts and readers who will collate and publish their knowledge on the web. According to a blog entry on Britannicanet, the Encyclopaedia Britannica web site is to be completely revamped. The re-design is in full flow and, according to the blog entry, has reached the stage where plans can now be presented to the public.
Registered users will be able to access an online editor in which they will be able to write and publish articles under their own names. Interested users can apparently already edit existing articles, essays and multimedia presentations. These contributions will complement the Encyclopaedia Britannica articles, which will continue to form the core of the encyclopaedia and to be subject to strict quality criteria. However, users will also be able to submit suggestions for improvements, updates and additions to these official articles, which will then be checked and potentially included in the official work. The encyclopaedia is also planning an as yet unspecified, reward system for authors.
The encyclopaedia, which has been published since 1771, has been online since 1999. Initially it could be viewed free of charge, then restrictions to free access were implemented just under two years later. An adults subscription currently costs £39.99 per year or £2 per month (for the first 3 months). Similar projects include the successful online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, which was launched in January 2001. Not so successfully, Encylopeadia Britannicas German counterpart, Bibliographisches Institut & F. A. Brockhaus AG unveiled plans similar to those of Britannica, in February. Their plans involved ending production of the print edition and distributing through online channels only. Brockhaus, which experienced a €14 million drop in sales to €107 million in 2007, has since withdrawn this plan, but decided on a further print run due to increased demand for the paper version!
Google also presented plans for its own knowledge platform in December of last year. In a similar manner to Encyclopaedia Britannica and in contrast to Wikipedia, articles would be published with the names of their authors.