On 30 January 2010 20:14, Ian Woollard <ian.woollard(a)gmail.com> wrote:
That's probably an unusually accurate answer ;-)
It's quite a hard question.
A lot of people have a fairly intuitive feel for it, but they cannot
tell you why.
I actually looked around in the literature to try to find a workable
definition for what an encyclopedia is, and the best answer I found
that, for a significant number (although certainly not the majority)
of articles, the Wikipedia goes outside it.
Wikipedia is what an encyclopedia *will be*.
I'm seeing specialist encyclopedias increasingly go to wikis these
days. There's still a place for the "one smart person writes about
everything" model in specialist encyclopedias, and some place for "a
bunch of smart people write about everything."
For general encyclopedias, Wikipedia has made both models economically
obsolete. (Many lament this.) I can see wikis doing the same for