7 minutes to compare Wikipedia, Citizendium and Britannica

Wikipedia, Britannica, CitizendiumEven if you are deeply involved in Web 2.0, a summary of what has happened lately is always useful. Serena Altschul’s report for CBS News is the kind of video that can make you up-to-date in only 7 minutes! In that film, she reminds us of Wikipedia‘s challenges and achievements. She shows why Citizendium is different but also interviews a person from Encyclopaedia Britannica who insist on its primacy. The journalist succeeded in interviewing for one single report: Ward Cunningham, the inventor of wikis ; Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia co-founder ; Larry Sanger, Citizendium founder; a person from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Theodore Popus.

First, the documentary reminds us of how major a phenomenon Wikipedia is: five million articles, a traffic doubling every 4 months. Jimmy Wales explains why Nupedia (Wikipedia’s ancestor) failed while a Wikipedian shares his opinion about the reason for Wikipedia’s popularity: contributing is not work, it’s play. The film makes it also quite clear that, surprisingly enough, the eldest of the 3 encyclopedias, Britannica, is perhaps the most modern, technically speaking, with online animations and videos.

Serena Altschul makes quite a comprehensive and neutral summary of the latest events in the Wikisphere . She mentions both Nature’s survey (stating that, on 42 topics, Britannica’s “mistake rate” and Wikipedia’s were very close) and the Siegenthaler affair (Siegenthaler being a former democrat adviser who was falsely accused of being involved in Kennedy’s assassination in a Wikipedia article). For that matter, Serena Altschul managed to interview Siegenthaler himself!

At the end of the report, Larry Sanger explains all these collective initiatives of knowledge will change forever the way we regard knowledge.

To say it briefly, this movie is a brilliant summary of the WikiSphere phenomena. A must-see!

Watch the film


4 Responses to “7 minutes to compare Wikipedia, Citizendium and Britannica”

  1. Charlie Says:

    I made three attempts to watch this film. As usual, television still does not understand the Web. All I saw was a fabric softener commercial (4 times, no less – the irony being that I do not nor have I ever used fabric softener). The video comparing Wikipedia, Citizendium and Britannica was very choppy and poorly buffered. I saw at most three second snippets between buffer loads. (not something conducive to maintaining a coherent thought) The video plugin had no controls and after five minutes of torture, I gave up and spend another five minutes searching for a way to give CBS feedback on the banality of their Website. No luck. I have highspeed DSL, by the way, and don’t have this problem with the majority of other videofeed sites. I usually avoid the major television networks’ sites. They are living dinosaurs that should just do the world a favor and go extinct.

  2. Jerome Says:

    Hi Charlie,

    I’m sorry to read that and it must be very frustrating. I searched the video on Youtube, Dailymotion and Yahoo! videos but could not find it either…

  3. visionarymarketing Says:

    Hi guys, I made a copy of that video available for you at this address: http://ygourven2.online.fr/webcom/mbaesg/mbaesg-videos/cbs-wikipedia-feb2007-altschul.avi

  4. Jerome Delacroix Says:

    Thank you so much, Yann.

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