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About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

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Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

Find out how a large pharma company uses dark blogs (behind the firewall) to gather and disseminate competitive intelligence material.

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All content © Kevin Anderson and/or Suw Charman

Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Wikipedia vs Britannica: Yawn

Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson

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.)

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3 Responses to “Wikipedia vs Britannica: Yawn”

  1. David Phillips Says:

    Oh.. how true.

    I also keep running into publication that hide content behind subscriptions. Google News is just so convenient to find the free stuff.

    If links are assets (yes they are) Britannica can never catch up without re-inventing itself.

  2. Steve Says:

    I almost laughed out loud when Dale Hoiberg got miffed that Jimmy Wales used text links in his repsonses. That is what makes the Internet so great; one can easily point a web surfer to a source of information.

  3. Kevin Marks Says:

    Britannica used to be free online - back when they were upselling the CD-ROM version. They withdrew it and made it for pay thereafter, creating a niche for wikipedia.
    That said, even if it were free online (as it is in libraries, after all) there is still a place for the more comprehensive and consensual work that Wikipedia is growing into. The more insidious threat to Wikipedia is the deletionist clique that deters the contributors who write most of the substantive prose.