Filed under: %a la mod
c’t, a popular german magazine for computer engineering, just
released a six-page spread detailing a study they conducted of the three major digital encyclopedias in Germany — Brockhaus, Encarta, and (most recently) Wikipedia. They tested the encyclopedias on breadth, depth, and comprehensibility of content, ease of searching, and quality of multimedia content.
The content test was the most elaborate : first they divided content
in three broad fields, Science, Society, and Culture. They further subdivided these into 22 total subject areas, and within each subject selected an easy, a moderate, and a difficult topic. They then searched for the best matching article (and supplementary content) in the encyclopedia.
Finally, they brought in experts in each broad field who rated the
articles from 1 to 5, based on technical correctness and completeness
of the texts, and on their comprehensibility. Once this was finished,
the results were totalled at each level of conceptual difficulty,
within each broad field, and across all 66 topics.
The net result: Wikipedia ran away with the top prize, a comfortable
distance ahead of its predecessors. “Brockhaus Premium
surpassed the competition from Redmond,” the review reported, “but must concede defeat to Wikipedia“.
Happily, the reporting of the test was detailed — a full breakdown of the experts’ ratings for each topic were published with the article, so that each encyclopedia might benefit from the spot check.
Grab a copy of the original at your local international-publications shop, if you can, or browse the current table of contents online:
Lexica: Wikipedia gegen Brockhaus und Encarta (pg. 132, not online yet)