Wikipedia vs Encyclopedia
There are a number of differences between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia, though they both perform the same duty of distributing knowledge to people. Kids of today may not be aware of encyclopedias because of a sea of knowledge and information available to them on the internet for free. However, not much time has passed when parents bought encyclopedias for their kids to help them in their quest for knowledge. The world is full of encyclopedias; some of them belonging to a particular subject matter, while some running in volumes and being a treasure house of knowledge of many subjects. With the advent of internet, many websites tried to take on the mantle of encyclopedias, but none succeeded to a great extent other than Wikipedia, which is one site that takes pride in running without the help of any advertisement, and providing up to date information on anything under the Sun. Let us see how Wikipedia fares against an encyclopedia.
What is Encyclopedia?
Encyclopedia is a book or a set of books that offer information about a number of subjects. This can also be information about different aspects of the same subject as well. All these information is arranged in the alphabetical order. When it comes to the encyclopedias of the world, the one people have heard the most is Britannica. The encyclopedia Britannica, though it was compiled in 1911, is still regarded as final, authoritative, and unmatched in terms of knowledge that it imparts. Many of us who have been privy to Encyclopedia Britannica remember the reverence in which it was held and how much importance, even teachers have attached to the information contained in it.
What is Wikipedia?
Wikipedia is a nonprofit organization that is totally dependent upon contributions from readers as they are the creators of all that is there on the website. All information inside Wikipedia is for everyone, and people have the liberty to edit and put updated information on any webpage of the site. This is enough to put doubts in the minds of readers as to the extent up to which they can rely on such information. But, Wikipedia tries to put to rest all such doubts by saying that there are editors that verify the information submitted and thus, the information is not wrong at all.
However, there is no denying of the facts that, in today’s world, where internet is the best medium for dissemination of knowledge, to even think of encyclopedias getting the kind of readership that Wikipedia is enjoying (2.5 billion page views per month) is ridiculous. Also, the fact that Wikipedia is growing by the minute and today contains more than 4, 733, 235 articles (2015) in English Wikipedia is astounding. Also, these articles contain much more than what Britannica has to offer to the readers. It is also a fact that Wikipedia is the easiest of the sources to look up for information on anything under the sun rather than trying to find that information in any other encyclopedia.
What is the difference between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia?
• Wikipedia is a sea of information that is being contributed by readers present in all parts of the world, and the content on the site is growing by the minute.
• Encyclopedias are literary works that are definitive and authoritative, which cannot be said about Wikipedia. Especially, in the academic world, though encyclopedias are accepted as sources, Wikipedia is not accepted as a reliable source.
• Wikipedia is easily available to all, and anyone can edit and update the information, which is not possible in the case of encyclopedias.
• Though Britannica is trying hard to fight a battle of readership with an online version and even CD’s and DVD’s of Britannica being available apart from the regular hard copy, it is a foregone conclusion that Wikipedia is going to emerge victorious.
• Wikipedia is free. That means, if you have an internet connection, you do not have to pay to use Wikipedia. However, you have to pay to use an encyclopedia. To use one, you have to buy one. Even if you use a library book, the library has already paid to purchase the book. Also, online versions too charge money for subscriptions.
• Wikipedia is found only as an internet encyclopedia while other encyclopedias are available as hard copies and internet sources.
- Britannica Encyclopedia by Surya Prakash.S.A. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
- Wiki homepage 161006 Venu62 (CC BY-SA 3.0)