Tag Archives: wikipedia

On This Day

When I was young we spent summer vacations visiting family in Toronto and Canada's Wonderland.

One fuzzy childhood memory from these trips was a booth (or maybe a machine) that sold you a print of headlines from your date of birth. Knowing amusement parks it was probably cost prohibitive and having no money of my own I never got one. It's okay Mom don't feel bad, and no it didn't ruin my childhood.

To our younger readers, remember this was a decade before the modern internet and search engines so this was pretty a high tech novelty and totally cool for a ten year old to pine after.

More than a decade and a half later a simple Google search will turn up a plethora of sites devoted to serving this day in history facts.

My two favorite are from the BBC and CBC. I guess I'm a softy for Crown corporations but they both have some great footage of historical happenings.

Online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia and Encarta also carry on this day events.

The New York Times' on this day page is possibly the least graphically pleasing of the lot but they do offer the ability to purchase a reproduction of a front page since 1851 but it's a wee pricey.

I've always been a sucker for historical nostalgia and thanks to these sites now you can be to.

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Britannica Says I’m a Web Publisher

I Twittered this week about Encyclopedia Britannica opening up the walled garden to web publishers for free and whether or not I qualified. Now either the barrier to entry is pretty low or my blog is much better than I thought because I'm in!

If you were wondering here's my take on this. Britannica even with a 237 year lead on competitors like Wikipedia, is not the first stop when you need some annotated reference material online. I'm sure that "kids today" are perfectly happy checking out Wikipedia and Britannica must certainly be worried about losing market share if not branding.

So what better way to increase your online presence than open up your service to web publishers (such as myself) that will start referencing you in their blog posts (like this one).

With Wikipedia's recent and on going shenanigans at the hands of founder Jimmy Wales, the online community certainly has not been against discussing the possibility that the collaborative online encyclopedia might be broken. Britannica might be able to get some traction here.

But Britannica has some work ahead to usurp Wikipedia as the webs first stop for all knowledge. Though Wikipedia has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate it, scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words Don't Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

Britannica does offer up widgets (but they do get a little cropped here on VOX) if you add it to your sidebar) on different subjects that you can embed on your site and even has a twitter feed you can follow. So if you have a site or blog and publish regularly why don't you see if you qualify for a free subscription.

Britannica Widget

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