Britannica is Dead -- Good Riddance... Right?
Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:49 AM
I'm as technically oriented as they get, but Britannica discontinuing the publication of their encyclopedia does not strike me as a good thing. What do you think?
Here is a related Article: http://www.mediapost...britannica.html
Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:32 AM
In a society hooked on quick fixes, Wikipedia fits the bill. Research is one thing. A thumbnail sketch provides familiarity with a subject. Just depends on how much data you need for your purposes.
Posted 23 March 2012 - 12:26 PM
At any rate, it makes little sense to compare an printed encyclopedia with Wikipedia. The encyclopedia was never intended to reflect current event -- that was what newspapers were for.
Wikipedia is often cited as a contributing factor to Britannica's demise, so the comparisons are inevitably made.
My issue has to do with the nature of the information, whether in a newspaper, Wikipedia, or an encyclopedia, and how it is created, positioned and disseminated.
In today’s world real journalism has taken a back seat to amateur bloggers, reference material is cobbled together by the masses rather than credentialed individuals, and editorial and opinion is positioned as fact.
All the way, celebrity and scandal taken precedence over meaningful information all in the name of more money.
This causes very serious problems in the way information is gathered and broadcast. We have no real way of know what is true or a lie. Individuals have not real way of even assessing presidential candidates ‘cause all well get are sound bites and spin.
Despite the ever increasing number of websites, Blogs, and social media the web has made obtaining factual information MORE difficult – not easier. It is getting worse every year. Wikipedia is not immune to this problem.
Wikipedia, validation by the mob, not nearly as efficient as validation by experts, as you would find in an encyclopedia.
An encyclopedia does not have contributions made by entities trying to promote their businesses (commercials), as Wikipedia. Wikipedia is also a platform for entities who have axes to grind and post slanderous if not outright lies to advance a position.
I’m sure some people will assert that Britannica is culturally biased, but if they think Wikipedia is not biased they are truly ignorant.
Posted 23 March 2012 - 03:59 PM
And I still say that the main draw back of the printed encylopedia is how its information on a wide variety of subjects becomes obsolete because it's such a changing world and the changes that occur are not always big news in the media. Encylopedia Brittainica, itself, realized this and would put out a companion book every few years to reflect recent changes. But with Wikipedia, it's just a matter of hours when, say, the death of a high profile person can be recorded; the same with new scientific break-throughs and new astronomical discoveries and newly-awarded Nobel and Pulitzer prizes and newly-broken sports records.
Yes , if you're relying on Wikipedia to find out stuff about a celebrity or pop culture, it can be biased, but the arts and sciences and classics are pretty universal in how they are viewed and debated.
Wikipedia is a sign of our times. It's not anything to tout, but it fills the need for speed. It may not be an ideal academic tool but it rewards your search, if not your research. IMO.
Posted 24 March 2012 - 01:09 AM
After that I became more skeptical than usual about the information listed there. If I ever complained about the pain-in-the-butt process of library research (or pulling out the old Encyclopedia Brit ----- haha, I still remember when my parents first bought the set...oh how proud they were!), then I take it back. Online research, although convenient and quick, can be just as frustrating as you try to hunt and peck for the site that looks the most honest and accurate.
Posted 25 March 2012 - 08:49 AM
Now Britannica is on-line too, has been for years -- even BEFORE Wikipedia. The problem is that generating the content for Britannica take experts and that takes money. Britannica might even STILL be viable if Google served them first instead of WIkipedia for search results -- this is the ONLY reason Wikipedia has become so relevant and one of the most popular sites on the web.
The only thing I not clear on is what is Google's strategy behind elevating Wikipedia at the expense of Britannica and every other better source of any given pice of information.
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