Sunday, April 05, 2009

RIP Encarta, Long Live Wikipedia

This is no less signifiant than the death of the old print encyclopedias.Grown Up Digital » RIP Encarta, long live Wikipedia
Even though Microsoft claimed Encarta was the world’s best-selling encyclopaedia software, the company announced this week that it would discontinue sales of the CD-ROM shrink-wrapped product in June and shut down the Encarta website in October.

Why abandon the world’s best-selling encyclopaedia software? Because, as we all know, in the world of encyclopaedias, best-selling is meaningless. Most popular is what counts, and by that definition Wikipedia crushes all competitors. The Wikopedia entry in Wikopedia tells us that the site offers 12 million articles in 262 languages, with 2.8 million English entries. Wikipedia receives between 25,000 and 60,000 page requests per second, depending on time of day, with the English version accounting for slightly more than half.

The site was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, and has since become the most popular general reference work on the Internet.

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