Comparing Two Encyclopedias, Which One is Gold Standard?
Among the extraordinary stories on the internet is one that of Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia that is open to editing and contribution for everyone. The deep-seated and rapidly expanding publication that holds more than 4 million entries is now well-used resources. However, it’s also controversial since everyone is permitted to make edits in the listings how might the users know if Wikipedia is an accurate and well-established source as compared to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Several recent inferences have brought to light the potential problems. However the nature magazine carried out an expert-led investigation, they first used the method of peer review to make a comparison of Wikipedia and Britannica regarding the coverage of science and suggested that the high profile examples are out of exceptions than a rule. The practice exposed numerous errors. In both the encyclopedias, however, among 42 entries evaluated the difference in the accuracy was not specifically high, the average science contribution in Wikipedia had around four inaccuracies and Britannica almost three.
If we consider how the Wikipedia article is written, the consequences might be astonishing. A solar physicist can, for instance, work on the entry on the sun; however, on Wikipedia, he might have the same status as the contributor without an academic background. Disagreements about the content are often resolved by making discussions.
Well; Jimmy wales the co-founder of Wikipedia and Wikimedia foundation says; “The finding from the research reveals the potential of Wikipedia, and I’m quite pleased since the objective is to earn the quality of Britannica and better.”
Wikipedia is rapidly growing, and the encyclopedia has contributed with 3.7 million articles in more than 300 languages from the very inception. The English version has more than 45000 registered users, and that adds on an average of 1500 articles every month making Wikipedia the 5th most visited website as per Alexa.
However, the critics have given rise to the concern regarding the website increasing influence if the several unpaid editors can replace the paid Wikipedia editors concerning the accuracy. Writing in the online magazine TCS the Britannica editor claimed what might be expected of the high school student, opening up the editing and contribution to anyone, irrespective of their expertise means that the reliability can never be ensured.
Though the investigation suggests that the Britannica’s scope may not be enormous, at least when it’s the question of science entries, from the research only serious errors such as the misrepresentation of the crucial concepts were detected at an average of 162 and 123 for Wikipedia and Britannica respectively.
Editors at Britannica claim that many studies of Wikipedia have revealed numerous flaws, “We have no biases against Wikipedia however, it’s not the case that errors sneak on the occasional basis or that a couple of the articles are written with flaws and since there are several articles that need improvement and ultimately Wikipedia needs good editors.”
Many experts agreed with the point on readability commenting that the Wikipedia article is poorly structured and confusing. The criticism is widespread among the information experts who also points to other problems with the article quality and irrelevant prominence to the scientific theories.
Though as Michael Twidale; from the University of Illinois, an information scientist says, “Wikipedia is the strongest trait is the speed at which it gets updated, and this is a factor not considered by many researchers.”
People will come to surprise when they see how many errors are there in the Britannica he adds. The print encyclopedias are usually set up as the benchmarks of information quality against which the faults of rapid and cheap resources can be compared. These findings remind us that we have an 18-carat standard rather than 24 carats.
However, to improve Wikipedia wales is not into checking the articles with the experts as having them to write the articles as the priority. While comparing the two encyclopedias, the researchers found that more than 70% of the people are well aware of the Wikipedia and 17% of them consult it on the weekly basis while less than 10% update it. The steady filters of the enthusiast who have made contributions to the articles reveal the experience as worthwhile if it’s less often frustrating.
The greater involvement by the scientists will lead to the multiplier effect as per wales. , and the add-on of the researcher can enhance the quality to a greater extent. Experts can assist write specific in a distinct way.