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Useful Tool for Comparing Wikipedia and eBrittanica

Errors in the Encyclopedia Britannica that have been corrected in Wikipedia:
This is some subtle comparative marketing. I wonder what the entry for Wikipedia is in EB? Can anyone tell me in the comments?
“This page catalogs some mistakes and omissions in Encyclopædia Britannica (EB) and shows how they have been corrected in Wikipedia. Some errors have already been corrected in Britannica’s online version. For many reasons, this page should not be taken too seriously as a comparison; it’s just a little bit of fun. It does not mean one is better than the other.”
I can see some uses for this page for research skills training in schools and libraries.

Posted on: July 24, 2007, 1:46 pm Category: Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. James Van Mil said

    Here is the article from, complete with a typo at the beginning of the article. Definitely a bit biased. (it doesn’t look like the comment is allowing paragraphs, so bear with the formatting)
    ” free , Internet-based encyclopaedia operating under an open-source management style. Wikipedia uses a collaborative software known as wiki that facilitates the creation and development of articles. The English-language version of Wikipedia began in 2001, and by March 2006 it had more than one million articles and was growing at a rate of millions of words per month. Much of its content treats popular culture topics not covered by traditional encyclopaedias. Wikipedia is also an international project with versions in scores of languages, including French, German, Polish, Dutch, Hebrew, Chinese, and Esperanto. Although some highly publicized problems have called attention to Wikipedia’s editorial process, they have done little to dampen public use of the resource.
    In 1998 Jimmy Wales, a successful bond trader, moved to San Diego, Calif., to establish Bomis, Inc., a Web portal company. In March 2000, Wales founded Nupedia, a free online encyclopaedia, with Larry Sanger as editor-in-chief. Nupedia was organized like existing encyclopaedias, with an advisory board of experts and a lengthy review process. By January 2001, fewer than two dozen articles were finished, and Sanger advocated supplementing Nupedia with an open-source encyclopaedia. On Jan. 15, 2001, Wikipedia was launched as a feature of, but, following objections from the advisory board, it was relaunched as an independent Web site a few days later. In its first year, Wikipedia expanded to some 20,000 articles in 18 languages. In 2004 Nupedia was terminated and its articles moved into Wikipedia.
    In some respects, Wikipedia’s open-source production model is the epitome of the so-called Web 2.0, an egalitarian environment where the web of social software enmeshes users in both their real and virtual-reality workplaces. The Wikipedia community is based on a limited number of standard principles. One important principle is neutrality; another is the faith that contributors are participating in a sincere and deliberate fashion. Readers can correct what they perceive to be errors, and disputes over facts and possible bias are conducted through contributor discussions, with Wales remaining as the final arbiter. Three other “pillars of wisdom” are not to use copyrighted material, not to contribute original research, and not to have any other rules. The last pillar reinforces the project’s belief that the open-source process will make Wikipedia into the best product available, given its community of users.
    The central policy of inviting readers to serve as authors or editors creates a potential for problems as well as their partial solution. Not all users are scrupulous about providing accurate information, and Wikipedia also must deal with individuals who deliberately deface particular articles, post misleading or false statements, or add obscene material. Wikipedia’s method is to rely on its users to monitor and clean up its articles. Trusted contributors can also receive administrator privileges that provide access to an array of software tools to fix Web graffiti and other serious problems speedily.
    Reliance on community self-policing has generated some problems. In 2005 the American journalist John Seigenthaler, Sr., discovered that his Wikipedia biography falsely identified him as a potential conspirator in the assassinations of both John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and that these malicious claims had survived Wikipedia’s community policing for 132 days. The author of this information could not be easily identified, since all that is known about contributors is their computers’ IP, or Internet protocol, addresses (many of which are dynamically generated each time a user goes online). (The contributor later confessed and apologized, saying that he wrote the false information as a joke.) Wikipedia administrators have the power to block particular IP addresses—a power they used in 2006 after it was found that staff members of some U.S. congressional representatives had altered articles to eliminate unfavourable information. Articles on political subjects have become the greatest test of Wikipedia’s principle of neutrality.
    For many observers of these controversies, a troubling difference between Wikipedia and other encyclopaedias lies in the absence of editors and authors who will accept responsibility for the accuracy and quality of their articles. These observers point out that identifiable individuals are far easier to hold accountable for mistakes, bias, and bad writing than is a community of anonymous volunteers, but other observers respond that it is not entirely clear if there is a substantial difference. Regardless of such controversies—perhaps in part because of them—Wikipedia has become a model of what the collaborative Internet community can and cannot do.
    Michael Aaron Dennis”