Encyclopedia Britannica to allow user edits

The Encyclopedia Britannica will soon be able to shed its image as a form of old media. Its online site will allow user edits, which will trickle down to its print edition.

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In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Encyclopedia Britannica President Jorge Cauz said that the encyclopedia's free, online version, Britannica.com, will soon be allowing user edits and additions to its pages. This system is not yet live, but according to the Herald should be within the next day or so.

Registered users will be able to make corrections, or add entirely new sections to encyclopedia pages--much like Wikipedia. The big difference, however, is that Britannica.com's editing and approval system will be managed by its own editors and contracted staff instead of power users. According to the Herald, Cauz is promising a 20-minute turnover on these edits, but that number could go up dramatically if the company cannot anticipate a large influx of edits at once.

Cauz also told the Herald that the big reason for the change is to improve Britannica's search engine optimization and dethrone Wikipedia from its current dominance on Google.com and other search engines. These edits will also trickle down into the print edition, benefiting those who purchase its 30-plus volume set.

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Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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