Thursday, December 15, 2005

wikipedia rivals britannica

This is a timely study given the recent hate articles directed at wikipedia. Wikipedia works despite being not perfect. But Britannica is far from perfect too.
A report published in the British journal Nature said it gave independent reviewers 42 pairs of articles from both encyclopaedias, covering subjects that ranged from Archimedes' Principle and Dolly the Sheep to field-effect transistors and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The reviewers were not told which article came from where, and were asked to check the entries for accuracy.

"Only eight serious errors, such as misinterpretations of important concepts, were detected in the pairs of articles reviewed, four from each encyclopaedia," Nature reports.

"But reviewers also found many factual errors, omissions or misleading statements: 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively."

Nature says "Britannica's advantage (over Wikipedia) may not be great" when it comes to science, and comments that this result is "surprising" given the eclectic way that Wikipedia's articles are written.


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