What matters about an encyclopedia?
There's a full and interesting comment below
, on the Wikipedia vs. Encyclopedia Britannica debate. (The poster is the [as far as I can see] anonymous EBlogger, a follower of the EB, but judging by the blog perhaps not an inside voice.) I think (like the Listener
;) EBlogger may overstate some points.
They say that Alexa's "sample size is quite small" - we are in the middle of an election here in NZ at present, most of the polls we follow use a smaller sample than Alexa!
On the drop in traffic over the (northern) summer, that EBlogger comments on for EB, that's a feature I've noticed in the logs for the Amos commentary for the last decade, so I'd imagine that Wikipedia will experience a similar effect, so if its logs were still rising over that period...
But what really struck me about the response was what it did NOT address. For me the interesting and important issue is: Is Wikipedia accurate? I don't care how many other people consult my encyclopedia, but I do care that it is accurate and comprehensive. So far from my, I have to confess limited, testing Wikipedia is still a bit patchy. (And on the issue of "sausages
" is still not updated, perhaps Stephen C
should just go in and fix it! I cannot tell if EB has corrected this error, as I do not have a subscription, the print edition in the library is still erroneous;).
In Biblical Studies for example, Wikipedia might have done better NOT to place holding articles from an old out-of-copyright dictionary to be edited, but invited new entries to replace the old ones. The structure of the old entries makes them difficult to update. And so some remain old fashioned...