Egalitarianism vs Elitism

January 30th, 2009

Encyclopedia Britannica has announced an initiative which will permit readers to be involved in updating its content. Jorge Cauz president of Encyclopedia Britannica stated that

“we believe that the creation and documentation of knowledge is a collaborative process but not a democratic one” [1]

The content, added by regular users, to the site will not feature the ‘Britannica checked’ stamp.

Coincidentally Wikipedia has proposed to implement a ‘Flagged Revision’ system on their website which would mean that any changes or updates made by its readers would need the approval of editors before inclusion on the site. This system has already been put in place on the German version of the site.

Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia have functioned at opposite ends of the scale since Wikipedia was launched in 2001. It would appear that both Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia now recognize the importance of controlled collaboration.

[1] CAUZ, JORGE. ‘Collaboration and the voices of experts‘, June 3rd 2008.

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