Encyclopedia Brittanica, which charges USD70 per year for an online subscription, is allowing free access to:
people who publish with some regularity on the Internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, or writers.
You can even link to the content and your readers can read just the page to which you refer.
Well, they have to rejig their model in light of the popularity of Wikipedia, this is true. Reading through the comments on the Techcrunch page that discusses this, Encyclopedia Britannica Now Free For Bloggers , I see a reason that makes even more sense to me. It’s all about Google. Getting the maximum number of links and hits on their website so that their page rank increases.
I am sure that this was the motivation behind publishing on the Brittanica blog Michael Gorman’s rant, The sleep of reason, about reliability of online works.
In the comments on the Techcrunch piece, someone who was in the beta trial mentions that he tried looking in Brittanica a couple of times, but found it easier to search across many sites via Google – rather than just the one source that may or may not have what he is looking for.
(Incidentally – this may be the key to students not using the library catalogue in academic libraries – why search a single source with authoritative and useful scholarly material ( material that is not available via the web), when you can search across many sources to get something you can link to ? (Yes, you and I know the answer , dear reader – but it’s rhetorical))
Now, notice that I’m not linking out to Brittanica. I’m not even sure why not. They are a venerable organisation that deserves to survive, it’s true. I’m not quite sure what they have done to annoy me.