Britannica has just announced that it’s developing what seems to be a parallel site in which end-users can contribute content to the Encyclopedia as they do in Wikipedia. It looks like the user-contributed content will appear side by side with their original content (which will be marked “Britannica checked” to distinguish it from the flotsam and jetsam of the hoi polloi). A beta version of the new Britannical Online is available. It’s not clear to me exactly how the user-contributed content is going to be associated with the regular academic Encyclopedia Britannica, which NU has already by subscription. When I go to the new site it thinks I’m logged in, and recognizes me as “Northeastern University,” although I don’t seem to be able to actually contribute anything (not that I’m sure what I could/would contribute). I have some quarrels with the new site, notably the insufferable amount of advertising especially for a subscription service. Some small things, like a “return to home page” button have probably just been overlooked since this is still beta. I like the article layout better than the traditional encyclopedia site. Another good thing and a plus over Wikipedia is that all the content will be signed and contributors (yes, that means you!) will submit a profile, no anonymous posting allowed.