Britannica Outsources to you!

This from the Britannica Blog yesterday:

For some time now Encyclopaedia Britannica has been at work transforming, our main product for consumers, into a place that will feature more
participation and collaboration both from our expert contributors and
the public. The aims of the new site will be to expand and improve the
coverage we provide both in the Encyclopaedia Britannica
itself and in other features on the site; and to provide our
contributors and users with an online community that’s valuable
and beneficial to them in a variety of ways.

Holy smokes!

That was my original reaction, but in looking at this a little bit closer, why should I be surprised?  Even the bastions of and hangers-on of the canon are beginning to see the value in the wealth of knowledge, experience, and joie de vivre of the populace.  Contributory learning and active reading, especially in the model that Britannica is offering here

Users whose editorial suggestions are accepted and published entirely or in part will be credited
by name in the section of each article that lists contributors. For
that reason, people who want to edit articles will be asked to
register, providing their first and last names, which will be used to
credit them, and an e-mail address where we can contact them with
questions and acceptance notices.

is valuable and that fact is being acknowledged by the media.  Why not our schools next?


2 thoughts on “Britannica Outsources to you!

  1. The comments about Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia are interesting.

    Britannica never thought that an open source product like Wikipedia would seriously challenge the credibility of its brand. They were wrong and Encyclopaedia Britannica’s staff seriously misread the global market. They are now very concerned about the widespread use of a free Wikipedia vs their paid subscription model From a corporate and financial perspective, Encyclopaedia Britannica is in serious trouble.

    It will be interesting to see if Encyclopaedia Britannica survives, but recent indications do not look good. It is the combination of a) the success of Wikipedia and b) improved search engines that has put financial pressure on Encyclopedia Britannica over recent years. Many libraries, schools & individuals are questioning the need to pay for sets of expensive books, or to subscribe to Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, when the content is free on the internet, and often much more comprehensive.

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