In an effort to fight the looming competition from Wikipedia (remember the comparison back in 2005; Nature, BBC), Encyclopedia Britannica has decided to put some dramatic changes into action…
No, not quite that dramatic.
But they are going to start to allow some user-driven content:
Readers and users will also be invited into an online community where they can work and publish at Britannica’s site under their own names. Interested users will be able to prepare articles, essays, and multimedia presentations on subjects in which they’re interested. Britannica will help them with research and publishing tools and by allowing them to easily use text and non-text material from Encyclopaedia Britannica in their work. We will publish the final products on our site for the benefit of all readers, with all due attribution and credit to the people who created them. The authors will have the option of collaborating with others on their work, but each author will retain control of his or her own work. – Britannica Blog
The main encyclopedia ” will continue to be edited according to the most rigorous standards” – but will now allow basic users”to suggest text changes, updates, photos, videos, bibliographies, Web links and other reference materials and improvements”. Most importantly, Britannica will recognise this content: “Anyone whose contributions are accepted for publication will be credited in detailed article-history pages in the encyclopedia.”
The core expert editor community, with user community advice, all by attribution is also the model being used by Medpedia. Which launched earlier in February.
The future of online user generated content?