Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, April 28, 2008

Free access to Britannica for bloggers

Michael Arrington, Encyclopedia Britannica Now Free For Bloggers, TechCrunch, April 18, 2008.

Encyclopedia Britannica often is used in case studies as a definitive example of how new technology can disrupt a business. ... According to Comscore, for every page viewed on, 184 pages are viewed on Wikipedia (3.8 billion v. 21 million pave views per month). ...

You can purchase the 32 volume Britannica, which has 65,000 articles and 44 million words, for just $1,400. Or you can access it on the web for $70 per year.

And now, you can get access to the online version for free through a new program called Britannica Webshare - provided that you are a “web publisher.” The definition of a web publisher is rather squishy: “This program is intended for people who publish with some regularity on the Internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, or writers. We reserve the right to deny participation to anyone who in our judgment doesn’t qualify.” Basically, you sign up, tell them about your site URL and a description, and they review it and decide if you’ll get in. I wonder if Facebook, MySpace and Twitter users are eligible? They all certainly “publish with some regularity on the Internet.”

Once you’re in, you get to link to the full version of articles - people clicking the link can read that article but they can’t go and read other parts of the Britannica site. ...