Wednesday, September 13th, 2006
So Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia and Dale Hoiberg from Britannica slug it out in the Wall Street Journal. Both miss the point.
Wikipedia will remain the canonical reference source for the internet for as long as Britannica remains a paid-for service. When Britannica makes its content freely accessible to the public, and is one of the sites that can be directly searched from your browser, the way that Wikipedia is from Firefox, then we may see a shift. But until then, we the public cannot compare and contrast the content of the two services, and we cannot make up our own minds as to whether we prefer Wikipedia over Britannica or not.
So all this debate over open and closed models is no more than blowing hot air. Wikipedia wins not because it is more accurate or more inclusive or written by more people or has expert contributors. All that is irrelevant. It wins because it’s free.
(Link via Euan.)