Britannica Would Like To Edit Nature's Study On Wikipedia
from the took-their-sweet-time,-didn't-they? dept
We didn’t mention the study that the journal Nature put out a few months ago, claiming that the Encyclopedia Britannica was just about as likely to have mistakes as Wikipedia. It generated lots of news coverage, mainly because everyone likes to compare the two, and Wikipedia haters insist that there’s no possible way Wikipedia could be as trustworthy as Britannica. The reason we skipped it, is because the comparison is silly. As long as you recognize the different methodologies used in creating and maintaining the two offerings, then the rest of the debate seems sort of pointless. It’s not like the two resources can’t both exist. However, it is interesting to see that the folks at Britannica, as is befitting their own methodology, waited quietly for a few months before publicly slamming the Nature article, saying that it was “wrong and misleading.” Sounds a bit like they’re on the defensive. The point, honestly, isn’t about comparing the two. It’s no secret that there are mistakes in Britannica, or that there are mistakes in Wikipedia. The real issue is the process used to create and maintain these entries, and what they’re useful for. As long as people understand that neither is the “one true” authoritative source on anything, then both become useful exactly as they should be: as one resource among many for those researching certain topics.