From the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em department,” Encyclopedia Britannica has announced a “new initiative to promote greater participation by both our expert contributors and readers. Both groups will be invited to play a larger role in expanding, improving, and maintaining the information we publish on the Web under the Encyclopaedia Britannica name as well as in sharing content they create with other Britannica visitors.”
If that sounds a little like Wikipedia, well, it is. But in, what, Britannapedia?, Wikitannica?, company editors will approve what user-created articles, essays and multimedia presentations get added to the site. Another difference: The announcement says, “contributors to the site will still retain “control” of their work,” which implies the site will not have the “open” re-use rights granted by Wikipedia.
“Readers and users will also be invited into an online community where they can work and publish at Britannicaâ€™s site under their own names. Interested users will be able to prepare articles, essays, and multimedia presentations on subjects in which theyâ€™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.”