Wikipedia vs. Encyclopedia Britannica

25 07 2007

Javipas reported on Slashdot that there is a Wikipedia post that points out the errors in Encyclopedia Britannica. Imagine all of those student book reports that had information so clearly defined as fact from the source proven wrong by Wikipedia by using The Wisdom of Crowds.

Blown to Bits

Let’s step back a bit…way before Wikis, and even before the Internet caught on. Britannica was a huge multi-volume set that guys would come to your door to sell you a set for a lot of money. If you’ve ever read Blown to Bits, you’ll see that Britannica was decimated by a simple, yet new invention: the CD. Microsoft Encarta, equipped with some good old public domain material and the CD brought down an empire.

This is a common phenomenon in the tech world: someone comes up with a concept, someone else does it better. Amazon wasn’t the first place to sell books online. Google certainly wasn’t the first search engine.


Hats off to Wikipedia. They showed the world, but what’s in store for them next? Wikipedia almost grays into the realm of Social News. Sure, Wikipedia is more official and in depth, but how different is it really from the Diggs and Netscapes out there?