Talk:Encyclopædia Britannica

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Former featured articleEncyclopædia Britannica is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 8, 2007.
Article milestones
December 12, 2005Good article nomineeListed
October 11, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
October 22, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
March 1, 2007Peer reviewReviewed
April 12, 2007Featured article candidatePromoted
November 6, 2011Featured article reviewDemoted
Current status: Former featured article
edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Encyclopædia Britannica:

  1. Track down the history of its thistle logo.


Make Encyclopædia Britannica Online into a redirect to this article?[edit]

Recently User:Richard001 added a merge banner to this article, suggesting that the content from Encyclopædia Britannica Online should be merged here. I don't see anything of value to be kept in the other article, and the online version of EB is already described in this one. Richard001 did not post anything to this Talk page in support of his merge so I don't know if he had a specific plan in mind. My own proposal is to just make Encyclopædia Britannica Online into a redirect to Encyclopædia Britannica without changing the present article.

In the FA debate for EB, last March, Stbalbach argued The Online Britannica is more than just a digital version of the paper edition, it contains a lot of unique material. If Stbalbach decides to write a real article on EBO at a later time, he (or anyone) could just undo the redirect and restore the free-standing article.

Let me know your thoughts on this idea for resolving Richard001's merge proposal. If no-one objects, I'll go ahead with that, since it is easily reversed, and doesn't need the EB article to be changed (except to remove the merge banner). EdJohnston 12:59, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, it wasn't so much my suggestion; I was simply adding the merge template to this article to be consistent with the merge template on the online article. I would support the existence of a separate article if it is notable, which I'm sure it is. If it contains no unique information though it is perhaps better to merge and wait for someone who is prepared to flesh it out. Richard001 (talk) 06:08, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Screenshot of EB Online[edit]

I've uploaded an image of EB Online (Image:Encycolopedia Britannica Online.PNG [sic]), which is much needed on this page. However, I'm not sure whether I should crop out the browser as I have, and I'm sure I shouldn't have shown the whole page. It's nice to be able to see it all, but it isn't really suitable for display. Should I crop it down to just what you can see on the screen normally, or to some specific point? Should I include the whitespace to the right? If someone else wants to do this instead, please go ahead. Richard001 (talk) 02:51, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Update: I've uploaded Image:Encyclopedia Britannica Online.PNG, which should be better. Is this one okay? I'm not sure what it normally says at the top, as I can't override that message. If nothing normally appears there we can crop it out too. I'll include it in the article now, lest it be deleted for not being used anywhere. Richard001 (talk) 03:10, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
I anticipate there could possibly be some complaint at the use of a non-free image, but the article seems incomplete without any visual reference to the online form, and Encyclopedia Britannica Online does redirect here. Even if it had its own article though (which I'd like to see, if we can get some sources), I still think such an image would be appropriate here. (I don't know that anyone will object at all, but they might...) Richard001 (talk) 03:18, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
One of the purposes of this article is to discuss EB Online, so a fair use justification ought to apply. The picture you just made seems adequately cropped. EdJohnston (talk) 03:51, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
What about the resolution? I'm not sure what's normally done with web images. I tried resizing it but it looked a bit distorted, so I left it as it is. Will this be alright? Richard001 (talk) 04:19, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
The fair-use template mentions 0.1 megapixels. I think you've met that requirement, since the image looks to be no more than 200x400 pixels. Thus you should be able to mark it as low-resolution in the {{Non-free use rationale}} template, if I'm understanding it correctly. The screenshot is not very readable; the reader will mostly pick up the color scheme and the amount of information presented, which might be what you want. EdJohnston (talk) 14:14, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Britannica Online[edit]

I'd be prepared to help write this article, but I can't seem to locate many sources. Does anyone know of any? Richard001 (talk) 07:39, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Ah, here's one: The Building of Britannica Online. Richard001 (talk) 03:19, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

EB WebShare[edit] --Historiograf (talk) 15:31, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

EB goes Wiki - no mention of it on Wikipedia[edit]

"Encyclopaedia Britannica To Follow Modified Wikipedia Model" (Wired): "There is no word of the Britannica news in its extensive Wikipedia entry." (talk) 22:32, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Ironic! I've added a paragraph on this. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:22, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

How many full-time editors?[edit]

"Wikipedia doesn't have its facts straight in this instance, according to Panelas. "That's wrong," he told "The (correct) figure (for full time editors) is about 100." from "Encyclopaedia Britannica To Follow Modified Wikipedia Model". Can we check our sources on this? He may be inflating the number for promotional reasons, so I don't think his claim should be accepted as factual without independent verification. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:27, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Or he may be using a different definition of what counts as a "full time editor". Hard to tell. And "about 100" sounds too round. Fothergill Volkensniff IV (talk) 15:00, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I took my count from the final page of the Propædia of the most recently published version of the Britannica, the 2007 printing. I believe that's the only publication with a current count of editors. The heading of that page is "Staff of the Encyclopædia Britannica", and its first section — conveniently labeled "Editorial" — lists the editors by name and position title, e.g., "Senior Editor". However, Panelas might have been using "editor" in a broader sense, such as "copy editor", or he may have been referring to the editors involved in the parallel electronic version? For my part, I'm willing to take him at face value. It always did seem implausible to me that such a large encyclopedia could be produced with so few people; even with 100 people, it seems like it would be difficult to keep abreast of the latest developments and to fact-check everything.
Sorry that I'm not able to help out with the Britannica right now! I'm wading through central simple algebras and the Brauer group to help Scartol bring his Emmy Noether biography to FA. :P I'll come back in a few weeks, though, and see if I can help out then. :) Willow (talk) 17:53, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
That could be the editorial board, while he might be talking about all the employees who do editing. Tim Vickers (talk) 18:51, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh, do you mean the Editorial Board of Advisors? They're listed earlier in the Propædia, along with other consultants. The staff of the Encyclopædia Britannica (check the history) have titles such as "Senior Editor", "Associate Editor" and the like; they seem to be doing the practical work of putting the encyclopedia together. If we count everyone on that page as an "editor", we get 74 people, which might make for "about 100 full-time editors" if we add in our imaginations some enthusiastic interns and some hard-working but uncredited assistant editors, or people working on the electronic version. Perhaps Mr. Panelas will drop by and give us the inside scoop? One can always hope for the gracious and generous gesture. :) Willow (talk) 03:38, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Here's a list of their editorial staff members. -- Zanimum (talk) 18:53, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I wish to put in this text (can somebody do it for me in the proper way?)[edit]

"Recent development in the online version of Britannica" -Introduction of modified Wikipedia Model-

Britannica is opening up its site to the public, but keeping the main body of its content in the private domain, as the official version of the publication is concerned. They do so by editing all changes to its core base of information before they are posted online. The new version of their website will include content created by the site's existing community of experts and content created by 'common' users. Finally the content of both sources will be incorporated by Encyclopedia Britannica itself. By doing so this 'user genarated content', once it has achieved a "Checked by Britannica" designation, will be made content that belongs to the 'private domain' once again.

based on this source:

By the way I love the comments on how the director of corporate communications talks about the wrong number 19 instead of 100 Brittanica workers. To me this shows exactly wikipedia's value. How much time did it take to correct that number? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Martijn du Pre (talkcontribs) 17:45, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

A paragraph on this topic has already been added to the section on "Optical disc and online and mobile versions". Tim Vickers (talk) 18:33, 12 June 2008 (UTC)


Would it be of any interest to the article to mention that the online version of EB now uses images from the Commons? See this and Image:Cambridge Bay.jpg. CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 00:50, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

It's a public domain image, so "from the Commons" doesn't make much sense. Surely EB has always used public domain images where available. It hardly matters where those images were first published. Bramlet Abercrombie (talk) 02:32, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry about that. I hadn't noticed that they were using PD images until I saw one I recognised. CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 15:50, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I do find that unusual. They essentially are trusting that user:CambridgeBayWeather is an honest, trustworthy user, and that they did actually create that image. For all EB knows, "CBM" just took that image from a random website, and for all they know, the picture is actually copyrighten. If it were a US government PD image, or an image that's fallen into the PD by age, I wouldn't find it unusual at all.

This image's viability in EB is solely based on the assumption that this Wikimedia contributor is good unless proven otherwise, completely contrary to the Wikipedia is completely unhealthy to knowledge attitude their editor has. -- Zanimum (talk) 19:02, 31 January 2009 (UTC)


The EB were convicted of defrauding minors in America in about 1958. They have a conviction for fraud in England in the 1960's. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:16, 28 June 2008 (UTC) They were convicted of fraud in England in 1964 or 1963. They described salesmen as "researchers". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:35, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Huh? Do you have any sources? WhisperToMe (talk) 06:23, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
See Harvey Einbinder, The Myth of the Brittanica, 1964. This refers to the American
See Harvey Einbinder. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:38, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

Mistaken opinion in Britannica?[edit]

'Britannica-appointed contributors are occasionally mistaken or unscientific. [...] In the 11th edition (1911), an article on poltergeists, a then-popular topic of superstition, suggests: "there remains the chance that some agency of an unexplored nature is, at least in certain cases, actually at work."[38]'

In the absence of a reference to a scientific consensus that 'agencies of an unexplored nature' are positively ruled out as explanations for any so-called 'poltergeist' phenomena, I am removing the second of these quoted sentences. One is not asserting that poltergeists exist merely by stating that unknown agencies may be at work in some cases, which does no more than to state that not all 'poltergeist' phenomena have been satisfactorily reduced to known and generally recognised natural phenomena. Moreover, I am not sure whether the current trend of debate and investigation of paranormal activity warrants the confident (and perhaps emotionally coloured) assertion of 'superstition'.

I can probably come up with some better examples of failing scientific standards in Britannica from the fields of sexology and linguistics, and hope to do so when I have Britannica at hand. Ni'jluuseger (talk) 16:30, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Alexa, Wikipedia, and balance[edit]

Alexa is not close to being a reliable source of web traffic. They make that clear in their own disclaimers. A self-installed web toolbar is not a means of proper sampling. Also, the the toolbar does not count visits to secure web sites (uses of "https"). Presumably, Britanica's nonfree content uses a secure connection, while Wikipedia access is almost entirely unsecure. I think its sufficient to say Britanica has been substantially hurt by a plethora of free alternatives, including Wikipedia. Putting a particular number on that is not possible, and not necessary --Rob (talk) 12:40, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, and I had posted here quite a while ago, concerned about where this information was even relevant. After all, we're not trying to advertise Wikipedia, therefore, simply saying "If you don't like Brittanica, an alternative is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that any oxymoron can edit". I only bash on it because of how the editor phrased it, as if Britannica was NO match for Wikipedia, and suggesting that this alternative was better. This was not the only problem with this article, but I believe it's the overall accuracy.
Someone deleted it, obviously enraged with what I was posting - perhaps they were mad at the fact that I had simply said what was true? I mean, of course, I'm sure in Britannica they do say that the KKK had restored peace and whatever else in the Southern-USA, but no way would they be selling copies if it was their opinion alone. They go by fact alone, and what the word around those days was, which was in fact that the KKK were heroes. So saying that Britannica is racially discriminating is ridiculous. Wikipedia is no better, in fact, it's more inaccurate because anyone can post anything without any substantial evidence to have it backed up.
From now on, ladies and gentlemen, please just check the overall reliability of your sources, and discuss it here before actually deciding to add to the article. Remember, we're not about opinions of the contributors; we're about solid facts. Don't bash another Encyclopedia and try to compare it to Wikipedia - after all, I'm sure EVERYONE knows it exists by now. DiscardedDream (talk) 02:49, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
As a fan of ancient Greek, I was thrilled to see your witty use of "oxymoron", a pointedly stupid person. Nice! :)
I agree that we're not here to advertise Wikipedia and we absolutely have to stick to the sources. However, some scholars—as described and cited in the text—have criticized the Britannica. I know that might be shocking, but I hope you agree that the Britannica is not perfect and never has been been, as its own editors have said. They grapple with many of the same problems that we and all encyclopedists do: trying to stay current, trying to simplify complex topics into simple formulations, trying to organize their writing into a coherent and flowing story, relying on sometimes biased and sometimes unreliable contributors, making editorial mistakes, etc. They also have the difficulty of staying afloat financially in these troubled times. I'm sympathetic to their difficulties and I foresee that Wikipedia might someday experience similar difficulties.
Nevertheless, we have an obligation to document the criticisms that the Britannica has weathered. Published scholars have noted that it has been racist, unscientific, out of date by decades, etc. and the article records that. When a published scholar does the same to Wikipedia in print, we'll have the same responsibility to document their criticisms and the evidence for it.
The Alexa thing is relatively unimportant, and there I'm sure that we can work out some compromise wording. Whatever the exact numbers, probably no one denies that the Britannica web traffic is tens of times smaller than Wikipedia's. To me, that fact seems notable, although the interpretation of that fact may be ambiguous. Willow (talk) 12:11, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, Willow, but I've decided to be bold and remove the Alexa-sourced traffic comparison. The reported ratio might be accurate, but there is no way that Alexa is a reliable indicator, because Alexa toolbar users are a self-selected audience, which probably excludes many people using school and institutional terminals (source of 85% of Britannica's online subscription revenue) because of locked-down configurations etc. It is out of date anyway ( as predicted) and carries just the faintest whiff of original research. As you said it is relatively unimportant, I hope this is OK with you. - Pointillist (talk) 18:19, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Alexa can be useful for getting an idea of how popular a site is, but if we went by that for notability that would mean that most porn sites would be notable. You also have to consider quality traffic versus quantity which is something that can't be measured. A site might have low visits compared to another site, but that does not mean the traffic is less of value. I would think that professionals in the academic community would visit Britannica before visiting a number of other options that are available even if those alternatives are more "popular" based on traffic. Artblogs (talk) 17:48, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

We need to either rename or otherwise deal with this. We need to integrate criticism throughout the article and/or mix positive and negative reactions to Brittanica in this section. WhisperToMe (talk) 23:01, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

EB to have online editing by anyone![edit]

EB Wikinews story —Preceding unsigned comment added by Green Squares (talkcontribs) 14:46, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes and no. All edits are only "suggested edits". They can post your change up as is, they can outright deny it, or they can use the information and write their own original update. So really, it's not overly that different to their original "email us when we have a problematic article" method, except for a much greater commitment to turnaround time. -- Zanimum (talk) 18:56, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Hinduism Misinterpreted?[edit]

I undid this edit but I wonder if the IP editor might be correct, since this criticism doesn't seem to have been published in any mainstream source that I can discover. Possible self-published material? Tim Vickers (talk) 01:35, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I've removed the material for now, since I'm very doubtful as to if it should remain. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:45, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Tim Vickers, Dhawan's article about misinterpretation of Hinduism in Encyclopeadia Britannica[1] is very authentic and excellently satisfies academic standards. You can verify the claims from Britannica Home and Student Edition 2009. As a result of this article, Britannica has promised to revise its article on Hinduism [2]. For further details, you can contact Brian Duignan, Senior Editor of Philosophy and Religion, Encyclopaedia Britannica. —Preceding unsigned comment added by All knowledge is free for all (talkcontribs) 13:23, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Where was Dhawan's critique published? Tim Vickers (talk) 19:36, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I had read about Dhawan's critique from a major Hindu website [3]. His article is available for free on the internet; I have read it thoroughly and confirmed his claims with EB's online article on Hinduism [4]. I am not aware of any journal publication but can't a self-published material be of excellent quality? Wikipedia is also an example of this. When EB has agreed to change its article after reading and praising Dhawan's critique then who can question the quality of his work. Do you think reputed media [5], [6], etc. would talk about it without substance. Don't they have the fear to be sued by EB? All knowledge is free for all 20:20 (GMT), June 1, 2009. —Preceding unsigned comment added by All knowledge is free for all (talkcontribs)
It says in one of those sources that this was a letter that was sent to EB, which they replied to with a letter to the author. That doesn't strike me as a particularly good source. The letter has been picked up by a few websites, including a mention in Hinduism Today Magazine, but I'm still not convinced that the letter is a reliable source. I'll ask about this on the RS noticeboard. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:33, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
See noticeboard question. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:38, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Call EB +1800323-1229 or write to Brian Duignan, Senior Editor, Philosophy and Religion Encyclopædia Britannica ( to confirm it. I have done it. All knowledge is free for all (talk) 20:59, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
The source does not appear to be acceptable, since it is a self-published letter written by a person who is not known as an expert in the field. I have removed it from this article. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:14, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia, as presented by people like Tim Vickers, is biased. Why is it so that news from Hinduism Today Magazine is not reliable, not even when it is about Hinduism? What authority does Tim Vickers, a biochemist, possess to judge religious critiques and magazines? If anybody takes the little pain of reading Dhawan's critique [7], confirms its claims with EB's online article on Hinduism [8], and consults it with scholars like Prof. Arvind Sharma, there remains no doubt. And the nature of his critique does not require a PhD in Hinduism; the argument presented there speaks for itself, and to such an extent that EB has decided to change its article on Hinduism. If a topic is not covered by The BBC or The Washington Post, it does not mean that it is not true. If HPI [9] requests for news, it does not mean that they do not do their research on the received news before publishing it -- even The BBC, The Washington Post, etc. accept letters to the editor, where people can send news and other matters.

My contribution in Wiki's article on Britannica ends here questioning the depth of research shown by Wikipedia. A story for you:

A doctor and a mathematician meet. The doctor says: 2+2 = 4, but the mathematician contradicts saying: 2+2 = 1. We say the mathematician is correct! Where is our common sense? One doesn't need to be a mathematician to claim: 2+2 = 4!All knowledge is free for all (talk) 10:03, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Please read our verifiability policy. I'm making no comment on if this argument is true or not, since I'm not an expert on the topic. All I'm saying is that it has not been published in a reliable source. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:26, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Forget specifically mentioning any critique. Why does "our" Wikipedia think that HPI [10], which is 30 years old with its magazine distribution in more than 60 countries, is not a reliable source? I don't see any point in HPI lying on a serious matter like EB's article on Hinduism. The website of Hinduism Today was not launched yesterday -- HPI archives take you back to December, 2000.All knowledge is free for all (talk) 19:00, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Keeping verifiability policy and the above mentioned discussion in mind, I have edited the article.All knowledge is free for all (talk) 19:06, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

The article includes the following "Online alternatives to the Britannica include Wikipedia, a freely available Web-based free-content encyclopedia." I love that fact the author felt the need to tell us what Wikipedia was! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:45, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Running the numbers[edit]

Encyclopedia Britannica is said to have about 65,000 articles. It is also said to have about 100 full-time editors and 4,000 expert contributors. Contributors are said typically to contribute only one article, or maybe a small handful. This does not compute. Wikipedia needs to change its numbers, or to say more about where all those articles come from. Lou Sander (talk) 18:22, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Any use for this link?[edit]

It's old, but an interesting read.----occono (talk) 16:29, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

16th edition?[edit]

Is there any information whether a 16th edition is in the works? The present one dates back to 1974 and it would seem that it's life-span is nearing it's end. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:39, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Which EB editions are in the public domain and available for inclusion?[edit]

As most of us already know, much of the public domain EB 11the Edition (1910-1911) has already been incorporated into Wikipedia (as noted in this previous discussion topic). However, looking at this article's edition listing shows that all others editions up the 14th, which was published from 1929–1933, are already over 77 years of age, and may also be in the public domain in the U.S. Are any copyright experts able to elaborate on this? Best: HarryZilber (talk) 16:10, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

@Harryzilber:I don't know. But It may fall in Public domain between 1925-1929 (95 years at least after publishing).--Maher27777 (talk) 20:58, 27 February 2019 (UTC)


"Although publication has been based in the United States since 1901, the Britannica has maintained its traditional British spelling."

It hasn't really maintained British spellings; it has maintained enough British spellings to give it a somewhat British flavor. I see somebody has made a to-do list above which includes "Find official spelling policy at the Britannica." If that isn't done, we should make a list of examples; even if the source cited for the statement above actually puts it that way, the facts will show otherwise.

Maybe this has already been discussed in the archived talk pages; I didn't check. Gene Nygaard (talk) 16:01, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree. I have the 15th edition published 2007 and it appears to be entirely American spelling. LairdKeir (talk) 15:31, 4 May 2012 (UTC)LairdKeir

Really? Try looking up "colour." Mewulwe (talk) 19:09, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

What are the original sale prices?[edit]

What was the original price for any of the 19th or 20th century editions? Ideally, I'd like to know as many as possible, but at least once per 20 years (ideally).

Hoping to see what "Britannica Price / median income" over time looks like. CreedShandor (talk) 01:22, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

"Competition section" leading to unbalance?[edit]

I've noticed that this article has a section on the EB's competition, both print and digital. I worry that this is an example of skewing towards points of view. The Digital competition section, for example, discusses Wikipedia vs. EB. However, there is no such 'competition' section on the Wikipedia page, or on the pages of any of the other articles that this section links to.

Is this a bias? Shouldn't all of the various articles on the various encyclopedias have such a section? The section here comes off as just another subset of the 'criticism' section. Can they be merged? Sevey13 (talk) 05:31, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

This article claims to be of higher quality (FA) that the others you mention, so perhaps the other articles should follow this as a standard. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 14:11, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

racism accusation[edit]

The criticism article features a section about criticisms of the eleventh edition being racist stating that "[the eleventh edition was]citing the need to "control the negro", to "prevent any intermingling of the races" and "the frequent occurrence of the crime of rape by negro men upon white women."" This implies, or outright states, that the encyclopedia was citing a need to prevent said "intermingling of the races." However, when one reads the eleventh editions article on the Ku Klux Klan, the context of that phrase was a paragraph stating "The constitutions and rituals of these secret orders [the KKK and the like] have declarations of principles, of which the following are prevent any intermingling of the races." I fail to see how this somehow means the encyclopedia was citing that this needed to be done; it was merely explaining the beliefs of the KKK, right or wrong. That paragraph also lists among these declarations and principles: emancipate the whites, and law of God. I do not see any accusations of EB saying the whites had to emancipated.

To take this to the extreme, it would be like accusing an article that explained what the principle tenants of the NAZIs were of being NAZI propaganda itself. Nitpicky perhaps, but I feel it is a valid contention. Fhqwgads (talk) 20:05, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

This is not at all nitpicky but actually a serious problem, if you're right. If your reading of the primary source is correct, please make the necessary corrections to the article. --Anentiresleeve (talk) 23:28, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

The sexism claim as to not mentioning the female editorial staff has to be treated cautiously as well: No member of the editorial staff is mentioned in any of the 29 volumes (yes I checked). From the sleve notes of reference 27 (Gillian Thomas, 1992, A Position to Command Respect: Women and the Eleventh Britannica.) we learn:

That 34 of the 1,500 contributors were women was widely perceived as signaling a significant breakthrough into the world of learning.

Hardly the sexist bias claimed in the lemma and sourced with this book. It looks more like the beginning of the liberation at the end of the Victorian and Edwardian Era. DrJunge (talk) 20:10, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

The A and the E[edit]

Yeah I don't know if anybody noticed this but there something screwy going on with the "A," and the "E," in this title...even if this is done on purpose it should probably be removed as on Wikipedia we spell words in the correct english way. I'm just saying I'm against the way its being spelled out here.-James Pandora Adams —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:52, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

It is called a ligature and it is done on purpose. It is archaic, not necessarily incorrect, and it is the way Britannica continues to spell the word in the title of the publication in 2011. Fat&Happy (talk) 18:44, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Although the Encyclopaedia spelling has common usage, the æ typoface doesn't. In fact, most common usage is just Britannica. Marcus Qwertyus 20:05, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Thoughts? Marcus Qwertyus 19:42, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I think the above IP was yanking your chains. Of course "Encyclopædia" is the original and standard spelling although in most of the world "encyclopaedia" is more common nowadays and in the USA simply encyclopedia. It's a shame that Wikipedia chose to use the American spelling.--ЗAНИA talk WB talk] 21:08, 14 October 2011 (UTC)


That goes down in history as the most dumbest complaint I have ever written. I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that down. Yes I agree completely with you the way it's written down is fine please don't change it. I withdraw my earlier objection completely.I'm not going to remove the comment just on the wild chance that someone does agree with me but really I seriously doubt it. How could I have been so stupid. I apologize. -James Pandora Adams —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:01, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Quote Incorrect?[edit]

"Robert McHenry stated that Wikipedia cannot hope to rival the Britannica in accuracy.[111]"

I don't think he actually states this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:00, 6 September 2011 (UTC)


An editor has suggested that this article be nominated for a featured article review. I am copying his statement below to allow editors a chance to address his concerns. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:29, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

I am nominating this featured article for review because it fails criteria 2c (inadequate in-line referencing). Snowman (talk) 13:24, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

As explained in the FAR talk page header, a special sup-page for this discussion has been started at Wikipedia:Featured article review/Encyclopædia Britannica/archive1, where relevant comments should be written. Snowman (talk) 17:54, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
The nomination is on hold pending discussion here. Nikkimaria (talk) 19:28, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I think that you could have been more helpful and more commutative. There has been a maintenance template on the article for over a year and I think that FAR should preceded without delay. Editors have had about a year to do the relevant maintenance to the poorly referenced section. I have provided User:Raul654 (the director for FAR) with a short report on his talk page. Snowman (talk) 20:04, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Please read and follow FAR instructions. [11] (Not sure why I was notified, since I did a bit of cleanup many years ago, but notifying article talk pre-FAR is a consensus part of the FAR instructions, so we don't just ignore it.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:33, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
User Sandy Georgia is one of the top dozen contributors to this articles by edit count, so I included her in the list for notification on their talk pages. The FAR project recommendation is to notify key contributors on their talk pages. Snowman (talk) 13:09, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
I had not listed an article for FAR for over a year and I was not aware that the policy had changed. I think that a better explanation from User Nikkimaria could have avoided confusing me. I had notified lots of people on their talk pages and I wondered what talk page nomination I could possibly have missed. I wondered if I had inadvertently excluded someone from the list and I even re-checked to see if the person who nominated the article for FAC was included. Nevertheless, I think that an maintenance banner indicating that a section is out-of-date being on a FA article for a long time is adequate notification that can be seen by anyone watching the page, and any interested editors could have made improvements if they were minded to. I think that the current FAR guidelines/rules insisting on talk page discussion prior to FAR are being applied too dogmatically here. Snowman (talk) 13:22, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
The Out-of-date maintenance template was recently removed with this edit having been on the page for more than one year. Snowman (talk) 21:20, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Merge EB staff stub here[edit]

I didn't see a merge discussion started yet for merging Staff of the Encyclopædia Britannica to this article. Just wanted to say that I would support such a merge. Gobonobo T C 23:46, 1 December 2011 (UTC)


Do we really need all of those different criticial subheadings (bias etc.)? Particularily when most of those comments are about the 1911 set, I do not think we really need any references to issues with the 1911 since after all we already have a seperate article dedicated to that set. The criticism section ought to be primarily for the more modern sets with less of an overemphasis on just one old set in my opinion. Threadnecromancer (talk) 23:41, 23 January 2012 (UTC)Threadnecromancer

I completely agree, having criticism of an edition of the encyclopedia that is literally over 100 years old is pure undue weight. I have moved some content to Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition. --SF007 (talk) 10:20, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

website or Web site[edit]

An editor recently changed every instance of "website" to either "site" or "Web site". To me, "website" is greatly preferable to "Web site"; and my preference aside, I'm sure that "website" is generally accepted and that an editor shouldn't make a change from a generally accepted form to one that is or looks dated -- cf a change from "show" (the verb) to "shew".

Additionally, "Britannica Web site", which the article now mentions, carries the slight risk of misreading, as a/the site of the mysterious entity "Britannica Web".

(I also brought the matter up here on the MOS talk page.) Morenoodles (talk) 12:06, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

I think it is pretty clear from the answer you received that you should change it back. You might want to look at the user's history and see if he did the same to other pages. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:01, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

In the news update mentioned in media[edit]

CARYN ROUSSEAU of Associated Press notes which is published in Star Tribune, "It was announced that after 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print, instead focusing on its online encyclopedia," the entry read." [12] --SupernovaExplosion Talk 01:37, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

A concern about the recent flurry of edits[edit]

By my count there have been exactly 100 edits made to this page in the last two days. This is not unusual, considering that it has been recently in the news, but it does raise some questions.

Here is a diff showing the net result of the last 99 changes:

Most of the changes are improvements, but some of changes raise a concern First we have this removal:

"The Britannica has had difficulty remaining profitable. Some articles in earlier editions have been criticised for inaccuracy, bias, or unqualified contributors. The accuracy in parts of the present edition has likewise been questioned, although criticisms have been challenged by Britannica's management."

Then, further down, the criticism section has been pretty well gutted. The entire Racism and sexism section was deleted. Same with the Bias section. The Inaccuracy and Criticisms sections were cut down and folded into the Accuracy and Contributors section.

Overall, in the last two days this article has become far less critical of the Encyclopædia Britannica. So I have to ask, was there a consensus that the previous stable version was too critical? Or are we introducing a bias -- perhaps unconscious -- against criticism? --Guy Macon (talk) 01:40, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

An excellent question. The sections on charges of racism and sexism might have benefited from some pruning but I do not understand why they were cut. Can somebody give a reason why they should not be resuscitated? -- Hoary (talk) 01:53, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Concerns about the undue weight given to criticism have already been expressed here and here and I agree with both comments. I have made significant changes, so I can comment on them:

  • I, user SF007, removed the "The Britannica has had difficulty remaining profitable." mainly because that was unsourced and it was giving undue weight to a particular aspect of the company in the introduction (and this article is not even about the company), simpy undue weight. The rest of the sentence was removed again due to undue weight, and simply not being from a neutral point of view: if focused simply on the negative criticism (a small part of the commentaries about Britannica), completely ignoring the awards and positive criticism; even worse than that, it was partially referring to criticism of "earlier editions", possibly the 11th edition which was mentioned in the "Criticism" section; again, this was clearly being given undue weight, since that version is **literally** over 100 years old and several editions have been printed later. --SF007 (talk) 11:16, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
  • The "Criticism" section was integrated in the rest of the article, like it should be ("Avoid sections and articles focusing on "criticisms" or "controversies""). It should be noted **nothing** was simply "deleted", some content was moved to Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, mainly because it was being given undue weight (old edition, 100 years old...) and because the article was too big (and still is), being over "100 KB", for which the guideline recommends the article "Almost certainly should be divided". So it made perfect sense to move the content. --SF007 (talk) 11:16, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
  • One other thing, "Inaccuracy" was renamed to "accuracy" because this section should discuss the **accuracy** of the encyclopedia (with examples of innacuracies, of course), and not the inaccuracy, which would be focusing on the negative aspect and in violation of WP:NPOV. --SF007 (talk) 11:21, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
How about the racism and sexism section? Should that have been removed? (I didn't pay attention to who deleted what.) --Guy Macon (talk) 11:31, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

In my opinion, yes, they should be moved to the appropriate article (again, nothing was simply removed), it refers to the eleventh edition, which, again, is 100 years old, it simply isn't NPOV to include it in this article. In addition to that, the supposed sentences about racism and "negro"s (words from the article) are not even supported by reliable sources discussing the issue, instead simply linking to the supposed articles of Britannica 11th edition. (a violation of WP:OR). Current criticism should undoubtedly be included here, but issues over 100 years old? Yes, certainly, IF they were considered extra-ordinary or "remarkable", which don't seem to be what the sources indicate. To be honest, it really seems that information was added in clear violation of the NPOV spirit. --SF007 (talk) 03:56, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Fair enough. -- Hoary (talk) 14:40, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Kenneth Kister[edit]

I noticed Kenneth Kister's comparison features heavily. However, Kister doesn't generate much coverage; much information regarding him originates from a few sources, of which his Wikipedia article is most prominent. His 1994 encyclopedia doesn't appear to be particularly prominent either. I've included what I found inside Wiki markup hidden tags. Thoughts? Bunston (talk) 02:21, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, yes. We read: A well-known comparison is that of Kenneth Kister, who gave a qualitative and quantitative comparison of the Britannica with two comparable encyclopaedias, Collier's Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Americana. (Current mark-up stripped, and bold added by me.) No source is given for the claim that this is well known. But what do you mean by "his 1994 encyclopedia"? (Do you perhaps mean his 1994 book about encyclopedias?) ¶ This article is a bit off, isn't it? Sample: the whole of Buddhism and most other religions is covered in a single Macropædia article. Wow, amazing! What's the title? "Individual world religions (apart from Christianity)", perhaps? Source for that: the 2007 edition of the Macropædia edition of Britannica. (Er, what?) I'd guess: With the exception of Christianity (17 articles totaling X pages[itemizing footnote]), the coverage by Macropædia of most world religions[itemizing footnote] is limited to a single article (e.g. "Buddhism", Y pages). But unfortunately I don't have immediate access to the 2007 EB and so cannot check. -- Hoary (talk) 07:17, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Spelling: -pædia vs. -paedia vs. -pedia.[edit]

I just corrected some inconsistent spelling - some places used "-pædia", some used "-paedia" and a few used "-pedia". I used the following rule to make the corrections: "-pædia" is the UK English spelling, and is used as the default. "-pedia" is the US English spelling, and is used for titles of US books, etc. that should be spelled with US English even though the rest of the article is in UK English. "-paedia" is used in URLs and Wikilinks that were written in US-ASCII. (These are not visible in the article, but they are a reason to go through everything manually instead of using a dumb search-and-replace).

I am open to making them all "-paedia" or even "-pedia" if that is the consensus, but they need to be consistent. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:45, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

The British spelling is -paedia. The ligature is archaic and only survives in the Britannica's proper name. Now fix that mess you created back to the correct way as it stood for years. Mewulwe (talk) 16:38, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The article had been using a generally consistent rule for formatting, although some exceptions may have crept in. The article uses British English spelling, as does the Britannica itself. The correct British English is "-paedia"; the Wikipedia MoS discourages use of the archaic ligature for words derived from Greek and Latin. Specific publications use the spelling found in their titles (e.g. Encyclopædia Britannica), though there has been some lobbying to eliminate the ligature even in those cases. Fat&Happy (talk) 16:47, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with F&H and Mewulwe - the article's previous use of "paedia" should be restored. Ligatures break simple text searches and are confusing more than helpful. SnowFire (talk) 20:01, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Though the ae ligature is unusual, the registered legal name of the company uses "Encyclopædia Britannica" and they refer to the product in the same way apart from when spelling in the non-ligature form for websites and mobile applications. This article should probably stick to the form most used by the company in their literature. -- (talk) 23:23, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
We know that; no one wants to remove the ligature from the product name. Guy Macon, however, introduced the ligature into the generic term "encyclopaedia." Mewulwe (talk) 00:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I would agree with that as a reason for referring to the publication itself (and it's corporate publisher) using "Encyclopædia Britannica"; I don't see their non-standard usage in their own title as a reason to change other occurrences of the word in the article. Britannica itself titles its article on the subject "Encyclopaedia" in both the current on-line version and an older print copy. Their on-line article titled "The Encyclopedia Americana" refers to the subject as a "general encyclopaedia" in the opening sentence. Fat&Happy (talk) 00:14, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Mythbusting time. When an English word has two spellings and one or the other is said to be more British/American than the other, I've learned to be wary of flat statements such as The correct British English is "-paedia" (above). And sure enough this turns out to be a simplification at best. Let's start with the present. For its own use (and without dictating to others), the prominent London newspaper the Guardian says encyclopedia not encyclopaedia. But might this perhaps be just some newfangled aping of the US, or pandering to the lucrative US market? The existence of incompatible library catalog(ue) entries demonstrates that cataloguers have been (healthily?) uninterested in such minor distinctions (additionally, earlier librarians may have been forced to one or other ASCII representation for the non-ASCII æ); but if we're not lucky enough to have access to the actual physical objects we can see from scans and photographs that various encyclop*dias published in Britain have long been titled "encyclopedia": Green's Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine and Surgery (multivolume, about a century old), Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopedia (about 90 years old), etc etc. And therefore, putting aside the desirability of its use within this article, the spelling encyclopedia should be perfectly acceptable in a British context. -- Hoary (talk) 01:28, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Incidentally, Wikipedia's article "Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopaedia" is as wretched as one might guess from the misspelling in its title. -- Hoary (talk) 02:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Of course "Encyclopædia" should be retained for EB and "Encyclopaedia" for any other specific encyclopedia so titled (not that I suppose anyone here would disagree). As for the word starting with a lowercase e, I suggest encyclopedia: the spelling is standard in the US (very possibly with exceptions), and as I've demonstrated above jointly standard (and I suspect increasingly common) in Britain. After all, an "Encyclopædia/encyclopedia" distinction is likely to be easier to understand than an "Encyclopædia/encyclopaedia" distinction. -- Hoary (talk) 02:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Most of those æ's have got to go. They can stay in proper titles, but not when used elsewhere. This isn't Ye Olde Wikipædia. Rreagan007 (talk) 04:11, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
As I said at the top, I am open to whatever the consensus is, but they need to be consistent. I see that someone else made "ae" the standard except in proper names, which is fine. I just double checked them all, and there are now consistent, with the exception of two possible issues:
First, we have a link to "[[Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences|Chambers's ''Cyclopædia'']]", which redirects to "[[Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences]]", a page that has an image that clearly shows "CYCLOPÆDIA".
Second, we have "[[Dobson's Encyclopaedia]]" (and "title = Dobson's Encyclopaedia:") which redirects to "[[Dobson's Encyclopædia]]". No image on Wikipedia, but clearly shows "CYCLOPÆDIA".
Any suggestions as to how to handle these cases consistently? --Guy Macon (talk) 09:17, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
If the title of a given book indisputably (and consistently) has/had a ligature, I suppose that it should be used (as we do for the EB, of course). ¶ But there are caveats. We should consider multiple editions. Our ancestors very sensibly had a less a less fetishistic concern for orthography than we do, and it's easy to imagine The Nonesuch Encyclopædia (1st and 2nd eds) silently becoming The Nonesuch Encyclopaedia or even The Nonesuch Encyclopedia (3rd to 6th eds). If the title changed, I suppose we should use the most recent title -- unless the editions with the earlier name were far more significant than those with the later name. So although this is a bore, I fear that one should check different editions before rushing to retitle an article. ¶ When I searched yesterday in library OPACs for British XYZ Encyclopedia (so spelled), I quickly found them; I quickly then found the exact same XYZ Encyclopaedia (so spelled) -- same edition, year, and place of publication. For some of these, I suspect that the cataloguer was either deciding for herself or following her institution's policy for transcribing the untypable and/or undesirable "æ"; but whatever the reason might have been, OPACs (and thus Worldcat etc) are not reliable for this kind of thing -- unless perhaps you're somebody like DGG who'd know which OPACs to use and what to bear in mind while using them. ¶ Another worry: How far should one take this? If "æ" ligatures, then why not long "s"es: Love and Religion Demonſtrated in the Martyrdom of Theodora, and of Didymus (here). I wouldn't be happy with that; and whatever next: Love and Religion Demonſtrated in the 𝔐𝔞𝔯𝔱𝔶𝔯𝔡𝔬𝔪 of Theodora, and of Didymus. perhaps? Please no! ¶ Perhaps it would be good to find out the facts about what's on the title pages and then let the denizens of the MOS talk page discuss it; they seem to have unlimited reserves of energy for this kind of thing. -- Hoary (talk) 10:48, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Does anyone have any objection to copying this thread from "two possible issues" downward to WT:MOS and closing this discussion? It looks like we have a clear consensus and that the page matches it. --Guy Macon (talk) 11:12, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The consensus, as I understand it, is: (i) Encyclopædia Britannica; (ii) Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.; (iii) Encyclop*dia Whatever (to fit the particular encyclopedia, e.g. Encyclopedia Americana); (iv) avoid ligatures elsewhere. There's still a bit of disagreement over the generic term. For a number of minor reasons I tend to prefer "encyclopedia", but if others prefer "encyclopaedia" then this would be fine with me. The question for MOS would then I suppose be "Should we take the trouble to retain ligatures in English or Anglo-Latin titles; and if not, what's the best substitute for them?" But maybe I've overlooked something. -- Hoary (talk) 14:26, 16 March 2012 (UTC)


WhisperToMe (talk) 23:15, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Um, no offense, WhisperToMe, but I find that page curiously imperceptive and uninteresting. By contrast, I recommend:

-- Hoary (talk) 01:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

"Current event" tag[edit]

I have removed the current event tag, has I don't think this is really necessary. The template states "This article documents a current discontinuation of print editions. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.", but it is higly unlikely information will "change rapidly": they announced they discontinued, and that's it. As stated in the template page, this is to be used "in the case of natural disasters or other breaking news.", but that isn't really the case. It also states "It is not intended to be used to mark an article that merely has recent news articles about the topic". It simply is not necessary. --SF007 (talk) 05:04, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Which years?[edit]

It is unclear which years editions were put out during the 1827-1901 era. i have a 1892 edtion (that is it says 1892 for the last 24 volumes but book one says edition 1891. can somewhat shed some light on the editions during this period and if any editions have multiple publishing dates within the same edition: that is does the first volume (or volumes) have an earlier dating than the following books in that edition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JOHN C MCNALLY (talkcontribs) 23:34, 13 April 2012‎

British spelling[edit]

It says in the introduction that Britannica has retained British spelling. Please can I have proof of this? When reading, I have seen the -ized ending many times, and that is not British spelling. (talk) 07:56, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

It is a myth that "-ize" spellings are incorrect in British English, British English views both "-ize" and "-ise" as correct, or at least the Oxford English Dictionary does. It is not directly analogous to, for example, "colour" and "color". Rangoon11 (talk) 14:11, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but -ise is incorrect in American English and -ise is generally considered more British. So why does it use -ize? Also, why does it use "spelled" and not "spelt"? (The -ed ending is more common in American English.) I am just confused by the inconsistency of the editorial policy, really. (talk) 18:51, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
None of the examples thus far demonstrate conclusively that American English is being used. If, say, "color" were being used instead of "colour", or "pants" instead of "trousers", or "Fall" instead of "Autumn" then I would agree but your examples are all used frequently in British English. Rangoon11 (talk) 00:25, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I have found a conclusive one now - catalyzed. Catalyzed is used on the article catalysis. It is the American spelling and, according to the OED, catalyzed is always spelt catalysed in British English". (talk) 15:51, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
(Sorry for using a different IP. I am not sockpuppeting. I am just using different computers.)
Good find. Reliable third party sources exist which state that it does use British spellings however e.g. [13]. How about we change the wording to state something like "has largely maintained British spelling"?Rangoon11 (talk) 19:28, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is good. Thank you. (talk) 16:36, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Just for the record, I have found a few more erroneous spellings which are not acceptable in British English:
  • "traveler" is used on the Herodotus article.
  • "maneuver" is used on Battle of Salamis.
  • "programs" is used on the J. B. Priestley article. This spelling is acceptable in British English, but not in this context.

These finds are somewhat odd, considering that other British spellings such as "colour" have been retained. Perhaps it is just the particular editor-in-chief's preference? (talk) 09:37, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Agreed, or it could be sloppiness, or a bit of both. Rangoon11 (talk) 14:48, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't change the article based on original research. A few typos doesn't change that they use British spelling. IRWolfie- (talk) 11:07, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
  • -ize is recommended by Oxford, although -ise is accepted in British English. It's rather an Australian thing, which exclusively uses -ise. -- (talk) 10:38, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus. SpinningSpark 15:02, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Encyclopædia BritannicaEncyclopaedia Britannica – In the 21st century the usual British spelling of the American "Encyclopaedia" is "Encyclopaedia". The spelling of this title is anachronistic and seems to be used because it is the spelling used by the organisation that owns the trademark. The Wikipedia article title policy has a section on this WP:TITLETM ("Article titles follow standard English text formatting in the case of trademarks, unless the trademarked spelling is demonstrably the most common usage in sources independent of the owner of the trademark"). It is not clear to me that using "Encyclopædia Britannica" instead of "Encyclopaedia Britannica" meets this requirement. -- PBS (talk) 12:24, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Support – we should use the English version, by which I mean don't use the pretentious/Scandinavian holdover character æ that the trademark owner uses, but use the English alphabet to spell their name as most sources do. Dicklyon (talk) 01:28, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support—Let's get over Old Norse. Tony (talk) 02:37, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose: It's not Old Norse, it's Latin. As is Britannica. The MoS allows, and actually expresses a preference for, the use of ligatures in foreign languages in which they are standard. Changing the official title of the work would be equivalent to moving Les Misérables to Les Miserables because the "é" is not generally used in English. (And, as in the case of Les Mis, a convenience redirect exists.) Fat&Happy (talk) 03:13, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
OK, maybe I was wrong; but it doesn't change my opposition to the use of an out-of-the-way character with an old-fashioned smell. Plain and simple, please. Tony (talk) 13:58, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
There is no Æ in Latin. It's a typographic ligature. Only in the Scandinavian countries has it ever been in an alphabet, as far as I know. And the Encyclopaedia Britannica is not "foreign", but English. Dicklyon (talk) 03:24, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Fat&Happy your argument is not based on usage in reliable sources. If the majority of reliable English language sources use the spelling Les Miserables then there would be a case for moving Les Misérables to that name, as that is not the case for Les Misérables the article need not be moved. To determine whether this article should be moved we should follow usage in reliable third party sources. In this case the wording of the policy places the emphasis on those who do not want the page moved to show that "Encyclopædia" is more commonly used in reliable third party sources than the standard English typography. -- PBS (talk) 10:55, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support It is common to do away with diacratics and odd characters for WP naming. This is a good case for such actions.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 13:48, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support, but I really wish some people would learn the difference between typographic ligatures and alphabetic characters. Just because æ is a character in some languages doesn't mean that's how it's being used here. It is a ligature, and a perfectly valid way of writing English. However, we tend to avoid ligatures in our article titles, just as we avoid other typographic embellishments, so I don't see any reason to use one here. Powers T 13:53, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - Per nom. The spirit of WP:MOSTM is that quirky name decorations like WAL*MART don't make it into our articles. MOSTM advises us to "..choose the style that most closely resembles standard English, regardless of the preference of the trademark owner." EdJohnston (talk) 15:35, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. See MOS:SPELLING#Archaic spelling: "...archaic glyphs should be modernized, including within quotations and titles (e.g., æ→ae, œ→oe, ſ→s, and ye→the)." DoctorKubla (talk) 09:06, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose: What's anachronistic about it? Britannica still call themselves "Encyclopædia Britannica", and so do a number of other sources. bobrayner (talk) 22:17, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per nom, and WP:TITLETM. Begoontalk 15:36, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Unfortunately, PBS seems to have a mis-understanding of what an "anachronism" is, and while this could be seen as antiquated, it is definitely not anachronistic, and so basing a move on this would be flawed. As Fat&Happy says, this is a perfectly acceptable Latin ligature and in fact there is precedent of using a ligature in article titles despite not being "demonstrably the most common spelling", for example Ben & Jerry's. Per WP:TITLETM it should be used if it is "demonstrably the most common usage in sources independent of the owner of the trademark.", but the most common spelling seems to be the Americanism, "enclopedia brittanica" so if there is a case for a move, this is not it. Describing æ as either Norse or "quirky decoration" is inaccurate, as it is from the Latin and was always called this way, not like "WAL*MART", mentioned above, which is not the actual name of the subject of the article.--Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 19:33, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
    I was using the term as described here "a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned". -- "æ" is an anachronism. Whether "&" is or is not an anachronism is not relevant to this discussion. Your point about usage of "encyclopedia" or "encyclopaedia" is not strictly relevant to this move request as the need is to show that the trademark is "demonstrably the most common usage" there is nothing that says that the new spelling has to be "demonstrably the most common usage". In this case because the differences between "encyclopedia" and "encyclopaedia" are ones that involve "National varieties of English" IMHO debate over the correct national spelling for the article titles would more appropriate once the TITLETM issue has been settled (possibly with a separate RM request). -- PBS (talk) 13:06, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
    That may be, but it is not conspicuously out of place, and I often see the use of the ae ligature her in the UK. I wasn't trying to say that & was an anachronism, but rather a ligature, and so objections to the current title should not be made purely on the basis of trying to avoid ligatures in titles. I agree that we should have a seperate RM request after this to determine national spelling, but saying that in the meantime we should move it to a new spelling that is not necessarily "demonstrably the most common usage" seems to be slightly missing the spirit of the relevant policy, if not quite the letter.--Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 15:26, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
    "I often see the use of the ae ligature her in the UK": If you often see it in the UK, then you will be able to point to 21st century example on the net, please do so because I can not remember seeing this typographic ligature used in any mainstream publication in the UK in the 21st century (I am deliberately excluding usage in specialist journals in this statement). Of course this is not strictly relevant to this particular move request and what would be helpful is if you could show that "the trademarked spelling is demonstrably the most common usage in sources independent of the owner of the trademark". -- PBS (talk) 10:12, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
    I do, although perhaps not in mainstream publications, but the first example I saw this morning was an iTunes listing, and in terms of the ligature generally I found this, this, and this.--Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 11:25, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - The Latin ae ligature is just a typographical or scribal convention, not a spelling in its own right. This has nothing to do with Old Norse or anything else. And for the avoidance of doubt, my vote here is without prejudice to any future discussions on other pages which may actually be about, say, Old Norse. AlexTiefling (talk) 06:20, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. In actual fact, the usual British spelling of the American "Encyclopedia" is "Encyclopaedia" (or rather, the American spelling of the British "Encyclopaedia" is "Encyclopedia")! However, in this instance "Encyclopædia" is still commonly used and perfectly acceptable. -- Necrothesp (talk) 14:19, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
    If it is still commonly used please give some examples "independent of the owner of the trademark". -- PBS (talk) 10:15, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It's a proper name, using a character which we are perfectly capable and willing to use elsewhere (as in Danish names) so we can use it here too, just like we write "Pokémon" regardless of the "artificiality" of the accent there. (We should only draw the line at nonsense like, say, "Toys R Us" with reversed R.) Britannica defines its own name and its reasons are irrelevant - we don't need to distinguish between æ as a "proper letter" and æ as an "anachronistic ligature." It is not merely a typographic thing since Britannica itself no longer uses the ligature in the general term "encyclopaedia" - they dropped it there long ago like everyone else and they could well have dropped it from the title too, but they decided to keep it there, which is equivalent to them making up some artificial term including diacritical characters. If such characters are common enough that they don't even require Unicode, I see no reason not to accept them. Mewulwe (talk) 19:20, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
    We use the character in Danish names because it's a valid character in Danish. In English, on the other hand, it's a typographic shorthand and totally unnecessary. We arguably should remove the accent in "Pokemon", so I wouldn't take that as some sort of precedent. Powers T 22:45, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
    We also use the unnecessary typographic shorthand "&". Should we start removing that?--Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 23:00, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
    That is a relevant question for a requested move of an article title that involves the use of an "&". -- PBS (talk) 10:12, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
    It's certainly a point that could be argued either way. There may be some semantic value to the choice of the ampersand over "and". The differences between that case and this one are subtle and worth discussing. Powers T 14:00, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:USEENGLISH. Red Slash 18:35, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
    • Not really valid, since the æ ligature is most certainly English. -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:17, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment good to see PBS using the RM mechanism as other editors; in answer to the question asked of User:Necrothesp search Page 5 of about 23,900 results (1.15 seconds) from 1990-2013 for "Encyclopædia Britannica" -Encyclopaedia -Encyclopedia indicates many UK publishers unconnected with Britannica. In ictu oculi (talk) 09:54, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
    I am not sure what you man by "good to see PBS using the RM mechanism as other editors" where since WP:AT started to recommend searches based on reliable usage have I used the RM mechanism in a different way? As to the search you provide, it needs to be looked at in detail. The search includes books that say things like "a trademark of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc." and reproductions of Encyclopædia Britannica books now in the public domain -- neither of which are examples of independent use. -- PBS (talk) 10:18, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are some acceptable ligatures in modern print English (most notably &) and these are used in other article titles to reflect the usage in the text in question (e.g., Ænima, Æon Flux, and Œdipe). —  AjaxSmack  02:56, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose, for reasons elaborated by AjaxSmack, Gilderien, Mewulwe, et al. ╠╣uw [talk] 10:22, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as it's how EB refers to itself --FeldBum (talk) 14:35, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. The æ character is too unusual in use, and is unnecessary. Better to have easily typable titles. Leave the æ in the info box, reflecting the primary source use. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:44, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Leaning support, per DoctorKubla and Ngram. But AjaxSmack makes a good point. --BDD (talk) 21:11, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose for reasons elaborated by AjaxSmack, Gilderien, Mewulwe, et al. and English language sources as given independent of, but following Encyclopædia Britannica's own use. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:19, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

14th edition and parts of next in Public Domain?[edit]

Duration of copyright in UK The so called revisions and 15th may be also partially in public domain.: The 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act states the duration of copyright as:

-For literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works

-70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author of the work dies.

-If the author is unknown, copyright will last for 70 years from end of the calendar year in which the work was created, although if it is made available to the public during that time, (by publication, authorised performance, broadcast, exhibition, etc.), then the duration will be 70 years from the end of the year that the work was first made available. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

The servers are in the USA and US copyright applies. It is complicated (see Commons:Commons:Hirtle chart), so just because it is not under copyright in the UK does not mean Wikipedia can include copied text from that volume in the near future. -- PBS (talk) 12:33, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Encyclopædia Britannica versus Federal Trade Commission[edit]

In skimming the Britannica articles I was not able to find this covered. In the 1970s there was a United States court case about sales practices of Britannica. I have not read deeply into this, but as I understand, the complaint is that door-to-door Britannica salespersons would ask people to take a survey when in fact they were trying to sell an encyclopedia and not do research. This was said to be a deceptive sales practice by the United States Federal Trade Commission.

Here are some sources specifically about Britannica.

This source does not seem to mention Britannica, but because of proximity in time somehow I got the idea that this was a response to the case.

This is important for several reasons.

  1. It is a part of Britannica's history which is interesting and which had significant media coverage.
  2. The court case could have its own Wikipedia article.
  3. Wikipedia itself also deals with conflict-of-interest editors who come to Wikipedia purporting to be sharing information, but who actually are trying to promote sales. This court case might have around it precedent of discussion of how to respond to such tactics.

Does anyone know if this is covered in any article relating to Britannica? Thanks to anyone who comments on this. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:06, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 8 external links on Encyclopædia Britannica. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

☑Y An editor has reviewed this edit and fixed any errors that were found.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.
GreenReaper (talk) 04:52, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Cheers. —cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 00:52, 26 August 2015 (UTC)


"this is probably because the study suggests that the two encyclopedias are somewhat close in accuracy ." This was found in the competitor section, and is a fantastic example of why Wikipedia will never achieve the status of any real encyclopedia. it's ridiclous that this wasn't found until now. (talk) 19:41, 14 September 2015 (UTC)


The infobox of this article currently lists the "genre" of the Encyclopædia Britannica as "Reference encyclopaedia". The "genre" parameter should be left blank, per Template:Infobox book. "Genre" is only for works of fiction. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 23:40, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Encyclopædia Britannica. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete the "External links modified" sections if they want, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 05:02, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 7 external links on Encyclopædia Britannica. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete the "External links modified" sections if they want, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 14:01, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Encyclopædia Britannica. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete the "External links modified" sections if they want, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 04:32, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

@ 'Annual revisions were published every year between 1974 and 2007 with the exceptions of 1996, 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2006.'[edit]

@ 'In 1933, the Britannica became the first encyclopaedia to adopt "continuous revision", in which the encyclopaedia is continually reprinted, [...]. Annual revisions were published every year between 1974 and 2007 with the exceptions of 1996, 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2006.'

Does this mean that:

  • All volumes of the 15th edition were printed - (more or less) year by year - nearly at the same moment, and for nearly every year each volume has a - more or less - different content (but despite its different content all prints from 1974 to 2007 [respec. 2010] are counted as 15th edition)? :o
  • To be sure: It was not in this way, that e.g. Vol. 1 was published in 1974, Vol. 2 was published in 1975, Vol. 3 in 1976 etc.?

And if the first version is true: Is there anywhere a list, which mentions the size (number of pages) for each volume and print of the 15th edition? -

Further question: Was there between 2007 and 2010 any new print (with new content)?

--Villa loga-WB (talk) 12:34, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

Where to find Public Domain EB?[edit]

I want to cite an article from an old version of EB, specifically because I want to show how historical usage of a name has changed over time. I found a mirror of the article, but citing the mirrored copy seems, well, wrong. I can't even tell from the mirror exactly what edition this came from. Is the full text of these old editions available somewhere? Where do the mirrors get their stuff from? -- RoySmith (talk) 15:12, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

Source for "It is written by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 contributors, who have included 110 Nobel Prize winners and five American presidents. "[edit]

Is there a source for this? Particularly the 110 Nobel Prize winners and five American presidents? Quoting specific numbers suggests there is a source somewhere, but I can't find it. I can find the same information elsewhere, but it looks suspiciously like it came from this article, not the other way around. Ytic nam 14:37, 24 October 2018 (UTC)

Demise of 244-year-old Britannica in 2012[edit]

The following paragraph I added:

The online Encyclopedia was shut down about 2012, as income was not even close to covering its costs. The information-gathering and editorial teams have been disbanded,[1][2] and the content of the Encyclopedia as of 2012 is no longer available in any form from any vendor (in 2018), except for used CD and print copies. On its web site the Encyclopedia Brittanica now offers snippets aimed at high school students; materials for this public have been profitable.

This was immediately reversed by @Mewulwe: with not a word of explanation, and apparently without looking at the articles I cited, where Britannica's President talks about "our strategic decision to reduce reliance on consumer reference and accelerate activity in the K–12 market."

He or she deleted a similar passage from History of the Encyclopedia Britannica, with this explanation:

nonsense, the web site has the regular content, still being updated)

I believe this is flat-out wrong. If anyone can supply a reference to a major article on the current Web site that is even close to the printed or CD Britannica I would be grateful. I say this after recently paying to join their site and finding the content isn’t there, nor could their Customer Service help me. I also asked two librarians. deisenbe (talk) 22:50, 28 December 2018 (UTC)

How about this? Hardly looks like editorial department shut down in 2012. Mewulwe (talk) 23:39, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
How about an article that was in the 2010-12 work? Trump wasn’t president then. deisenbe (talk)<
Really, you can't figure this out for yourself? Mewulwe (talk) 00:31, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
I never said that no updating was being done. I said the team that created the print/CD versions no longer exists.
I can’t see the print Britannica until January 2, at the public library, and don’t know how I’d get a count. But I saved the article on Abraham Lincoln from the current web site and it’s 152 kb, including a lot of code. I did the same with said srticle from the 1911 Britannica and it’s 830 kb, with no code. The article on Spain on the current web site is 196 kb with code. Spain from the 1911 Britannica is 1.8 mb - 10 times as large. Have I made my point? deisenbe (talk) 00:54, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
No, you said "The online Encyclopedia was shut down about 2012," and you said "The information-gathering and editorial teams have been disbanded." How do you update without gathering information and editing it and without having an online encyclopedia at all? Comparisons with 1911 are ridiculous, take the 2010 print version and you'll see that the online articles now will be the same or indeed longer, since the space limitations of print no longer obtain. Mewulwe (talk) 10:42, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
Sigh. I stand on everything I said. Leaving out events since 2010, please provide an example of an article currently on the Web site that is "the same or indeed longer" than the 2010 print version. deisenbe (talk) 10:49, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
You can take any article you want, you'll have a hard time finding one that is shorter than in 2010. Why would it be? It's the same article base and since giving up print they've had no reason to cut anything to make room for new material. Mewulwe (talk) 12:52, 29 December 2018 (UTC)


Searchtool-80%.png Response to third opinion request:
Are there additional sources for the assertion that they shut down in 2012? We really shouldn't be trying to do our own research here, but instead relying on what is said in reliable sources. Bradv🍁 02:22, 1 January 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. Neither of the cited sources is even close to supporting the claim that the online version was shut down about 2012. They say that the print version was discontinued after the 2010 edition, and that the emphasis of the company had moved to the digital version. Meters (talk) 05:02, 1 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm dropping this. I have done something no one else here has done: gone to Britannica's online (paid) site looking for the extensive articles, and also asked their customer service dept. where the full content is. They confirmed it's not there. But that's (shudder!) original research. deisenbe (talk) 13:23, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
It may seem odd in this case, but we really do need reliable sources for easy verifiability, and to demonstrate that the information is notable enough to include in the article. We're all volunteers with limited time, and without these policies The Project would be unable to function. – Reidgreg (talk) 16:46, 6 January 2019 (UTC)