Is Wikipedia’s anyone-can-do-it aesthetic just not for you? Do you find it too difficult to use, or are you just not sure if it’s reliable? Here are some other online encyclopedias to try.
1. Encyclopedia Britannica Online
In terms of traditional encyclopedias, this is Wikipedia’s main rival. It contains every current volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica, with easy-to-use search tools. While it doesn’t follow Wikipedia’s model, it is much more reliable, and you can cite facts from it with confidence. The catch is that there are certain articles that you can’t see in their entirety unless you sign up for a paid subscription.
2. World Book Online
This is another traditional encyclopedia that has made the move to the Internet in order to challenge Wikipedia. It’s aimed slightly towards younger school students, but it’s still a respected name when it comes to general reference. Like Encyclopedia Britannica Online, some of its articles won’t be full-length unless you sign up for a paid subscription.
This is probably Wikipedia’s biggest rival in terms of free online encyclopedias. It draws information from over 100 different encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses, including The Columbia Encyclopedia, Oxford’s World Encyclopedia, Webster’s New World Dictionary, the Encyclopedia of World Biography, and numerous other trusted publications about medicine, computers, science, and more.
This is another free online encyclopedia from Pearson P.L.C., the world’s largest education company and textbook producer. It features maps, definitions, and information articles from publications that are trusted in public school systems worldwide, such as those from the Penguin Group and Random House Publishing. It even has a companion website called FactMonster (www.factmonster.com) which is designed to appeal and be accessible to kids.
This is somewhat of a sister website to Wikipedia, as it was created by one of Wikipedia’s founders, Larry Sanger. Besides having a somewhat better peer review process (including “citable certifications” and disclaimers if an article hasn’t been sufficiently peer reviewed yet), Citizendium forces all of its contributors to sign up for the website with their real names, instead of user names. This makes it more difficult for people who vandalize or otherwise abuse the website to come back if they get kicked out, because they can’t just make up and hide behind a new generic name that could refer to anyone.