Like Journalism, Encyclopedias Are Better Open

Anyone who grew up with the Encyclopedia Britannica should be forgiven for getting a little misty eyed about the legendary publication doing away with its printed version after more than two centuries, even if the move seems unsurprising (and more than a little late). Memories of those old, dusty volumes aside, there is no question that the creation of a storehouse of knowledge about the world is far better done via a networked and distributed model such as that of Wikipedia than with a centralized, proprietary approach like Britannica’s. As we are finding with journalism and the news business, knowledge-building gets better when there are more people involved. The process may be chaotic, but the result is superior.

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