Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
Wikipedia Has 751,426 Contributors
The Encyclopedia Britannica (EB) is dead! And Wikipedia and Microsoft Encarta are the murderous culprits. The once popular printed volume which offered knowledge at your fingertips has had to scale back through lagging sales and just a few weeks ago its publishers announced that they would be pulling it from print.
So what happened? Paper knowledge especially the type that was found in bound volumes like the EB migrated first onto CD Roms, then finally found a home online. Large information curators like Wikipedia delivered the coupe de grace to printed volumes like the EB.
Today information has been liberalized and I suppose this is what ultimately has put the EB out of business. Where Wikipedia relies on donations, the EB relies on direct sales. Time gone, only the well to do could afford a volume of the EB, today anyone with access to the internet can access information. Last year Wikipedia raked in $60 million in donations while the EB managed a paltry $11 million in sales. Wikipedia can be accessed in more than 284 languages—a fact that makes the reach of the site far greater than any printed volume of knowledge could achieve in the time frame that Wikipedia has done it.
But perhaps the biggest reason Wikipedia trumps the EB is through the crowd-sourcing culture of how it gathers information. While the EB has only 4,000 contributors, Wikipedia has a mind-boggling 751,426 contributors—many of which are ordinary people who just love to write.
So, R.I.P. Encyclopedia Britannica, it was good while it lasted.
Are you going to miss the Encyclopedia Britannica? Let us know below