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Britannica Lets Online Visitors Suggest Revisions

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Britannica Lets Online Visitors Suggest Revisions

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Britannica Lets Online Visitors Suggest Revisions

Britannica Lets Online Visitors Suggest Revisions

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/91625713/91625679" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Encyclopedia Britannica is taking a page out of the Wikipedia playbook by allowing readers to make edits and contributions to the encyclopedia.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And in another sign of the times, one of the most famous reference books in the English language is going wiki. Encyclopedia Britannica has announced it will let readers revise its online content.

NPR's Curt Nickisch reports.

CURT NICKISCH: Entry: Encyclopedia Britannica, first published between 1768 and 1771, widely perceived as the most scholarly of encyclopedias. Edit: June 2008, learned lesson from Wikipedia.

It's a fact. After 240 years and much resistance, the Encyclopedia Britannica will now let anyone suggest changes to its online edition. But unlike Wikipedia - the upstart, free online encyclopedia that's totally user generated but sometimes unreliable - any changes to Britannica will have to be approved by its staff of scholars first.

Jorge Cauz runs the company.

Mr. JORGE CAUZ (Encyclopedia Britannica): The key thing here is collaboration, not abdication of our responsibility as editors.

NICKISCH: Still, it's a remarkable move for the encyclopedia with its sober if solid reputation. David Weinberger is an Internet researcher at Harvard University.

Mr. DAVID WEINBERGER (Harvard University): This new step is Britannica acknowledging that its traditional way of providing knowledge is not the only one. There are more ways than that.

NICKISCH: Weinberger says that by adapting now, Britannica has a better chance of staying relevant for the next 240 years.

Curt Nickisch, NPR News.

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