The Various Freely Available Online Encyclopaedias English Language Essay

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Encyclopaedia is a book or CD or a set of these containing facts about many different subjects or containing detailed facts about a particular subject. It contributes a wide variety of information related to the words or phrases or articles.Furthermore, articles are arranged in an alphabetical sequence. These articles allow users to meet their information needs first on general level and then on a general level and then on a specific level by pointing them to more detailed sources of information within the encyclopaedia or outside sources. In the late twentieth century, the advancement and availability of Internet technology has made the popularity of online encyclopaedias. Reference sources are vital to refer for particular information. There are several references sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, bibliographies, etc., in this paper we are trying to evaluate three online encyclopaedias which are " Free Online Encyclopaedia Britannica", "Wikipedia" and "The World Encyclopaedia" trying to examine with "APPARATUS" and its distinct characteristics. Moreover, the comparison made for the given four articles in the above motioned three encyclopaedias are presented in four tables. The three above encyclopedias are in general and also they are cover for all subjects. The characteristics of the encyclopaedia are the level of targeted audience, scope and accuracy. However, in this paper, we are trying to focus on more detailed characteristics to evaluate them. The purpose of evaluation is to measure the quality of its service and take appropriate measure to be able to produce high quality, updated, accurate and reliable information for users.

The Encyclop'dia Britannica was introduced in the 18thcentury in Scotland among the great intellectual ferment known as the Scottish Enlightenment. In 1994 the company developed Britannica Online, the first encyclopaedia for the Internet, which made the entire text of the Encyclop'dia Britannica available worldwide. That year the first version of the Britannica on CD-ROM was also published. Till today, Britannica's basic mission has the same as in 1768: to be the worldwide leader in reference, education, and learning.

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that readers who use it can edit and write collaboratively. It has extremely useful build-in search engine, which can be placed documents on Wikipedia easily. Wikipedia was launched on its own domain,, on 15 January 2001. It has 16 million articles and among them over 3.4 million are in English. They have been written by volunteers around the world and almost all articles can be edited by anyone.

The World Encyclopedia is established by Oxford's award-winning print scholarly reference that is contributed by international writers and scholars. Oxford Reference Online was launched in 2002 and since then Oxford Reference Online has become the biggest and most trusted publishers in the world and also become a single cross-searchable resource.

2. Evaluation of Free Online Encyclopedia Britannica by "APPARATUS"

2.1 Authority & Objectivity ("A")

The slogan of this encyclopaedia is Britannica which is sought the very best in the world to help users. It is successful for about 240 years and the world's greatest scholars. The establisher of Britannica are people who got Nobel prizes, Pulitzer Prize winners, writers, public servants, professors who are from Oxford, Harvard, Yale, Chicago University and other famous universities. The people are expert in their specific area. There are many authors in Britannica so user can get various ideas and thoughts in thinking. However, some articles are influenced by bias thoughts depending on the contributors.

2.2 Purpose

Britannica online encyclopaedia focuses on the status of being a famous leader and the trusted sources information for reference, education and learning environment. It has over 120 thousand articles and for Britannica online school edition which can fulfil the students' requirements in their studies with their adaptable learning skills. The collection is also compromised with over 39,000 graphics and 2,000 animations, videos and audio clips. As a result, Britannica can provide the users' needs with additional advanced features such as blogs, thesaurus, and related articles. The author can express his attitudes in the particular article to the readers. For example, the article about African American History, the author points out the struggling steps that are African people's lives from slave to United State's president. The author is highlighting the importance of being intelligent and work hard for the success of all of African people.

2.3 Physical Production (P)

The interface's design of Britannica is simple for a friendly use. The user can browse according to categories of subject, A to Z index, World Atlas, Timeline and spotlight archive. Standard search and advanced search are provided to find specific information easily by typing into the search engines without spending much time. In a blog section, users can use various blogs with several kinds of subject areas. And also users can write comments on that blog. A Shop is a place where is selling books and articles on Britannica websites. The user can use My Britannica to save the most like articles and can also give feedback to the Britannica Editorial Board. The most desirable articles can be printed out by the user and they can share by sending email to others easily. As the online version has many types of features, the user can get knowledge and share information easily and quickly.

2.4 Arrangement (A)

The contents are arranged in a dictionary format, by ordering alphabetically. To search for the information, a user can browse through A-Z or quick facts which are the best way of arranging contents that can sort facts on related groups of topics. The article can be searched from the right corner of home page given by the table of contents. If the user wants to find definition of a word, Merriam Webster Dictionary and thesaurus feature are available for finding the meaning or similar words. The search functions for videos, images and maps can be accessed within the article so as to understand the search topics easily for users. The presentation style for a single article is that each is arranged in four parts including Main, Related Articles, External Websites and Citation. Many hyperlinks for relevant specific areas are given in each article for efficiency.

2.5 Recency (Current ) ("R")

The frequency for updating is daily basis because Britannica Online is renewed every day with breaking news and articles from New York Times and current events news. The contributors from all over the world are welcome for their suggestions to the articles described on the web. Although the contents are depended on editorial board but the entire online version of encyclopedia has facilities for fast and regular revised to less printed version than the articles and hyperlinks.

2.6 Accuracy ("A")

The articles are written in an essay format, expressing clearly but some are quite longer than needed. The historical backgrounds are given as much as possible n most of the articles. The editorial board is fully responsible for editing work so that the user can rely on its accurate information. In addition, the comparison and constructive criticism of related articles from some other sources are presented so that it is well informed for specialists who want to get more knowledge about their subject area. A user can be well equipped with historical perspective as well as with the latest information. A user can view the articles related to the particular subject by clicking on many hyperlinks.

2.7 Treatment ("T")

The articles can be chosen by subject categories, A to Z index and World Atlas in Britannica Kids or the user can also browse from timelines and spotlight archive. The geographical coverage illustrates with maps and articles on the country and around the world. For the time period, each article can be checked via history with demonstrators and key dates. To avoid confusion, Britannica uses simple and neutral English language but some science and technology articles have technical terms due to the nature of subjects. Britannica make combination with Online Merriam Webster's Dictionary and use Vast Video to access video on the websites

2.8 Users ("U")

The age intended users of Britannica is 8 years and above. The intellectual levels intended users are 8 years and above for kids, though students, teachers, librarians and administrators are major users of it.

2.9 Scope ("S")

There is enough coverage for users' needs in Britannica Online databases. It Starts from 18th century to 21st century.

2.10 Context and Cost ("C")

Britannica make fulfill a niche subject area like Global Warming, Literature, and Geography and Travel.Besides, the demonstration of all niche subject area is presented with video and images. Britannica allows taking suggestion concern with editing contexts and then will revise the articles and hyperlinks. The editing process can be delayed and it also takes time to archive original detailed articles.The advanced member has to pay 69.95 USD for annual fee. The user can access other same quality resources similar quality resources from MSN Encarta and Wikipedia.

2.11 Additional features of Britannica Online

The advanced search is provided for more efficient search in the Britannica. In Advanced Search, search by with all of these words, with the exact phrase, with any of these words and without these words are available. The information stated is organized in an intuitive manner. The good example is that in Blog features, the user can search by specific subjects such as History, Politics, Culture, Society and Technology and so on. Encyclopedia Britannica Kids has simpler illustrations, and the result can be viewed with simple text structures and with acceptable length for children. The sub categories are making kids surf for more information links by links. Other features for kids are same as in general Britannica for adults. Both general articles and blogs have comment sections. Besides it includes SUGGESTEDIT. User can submit editorial board. Users can make asking for help and also connect to all of the Britannica authority via either email or phone. Help guides for all sections such as Technical Support and Subscription Support. There are RSS feeds for user who want to get updated articles. If the user wants to navigate the link he can click on hyperlinks and the new pages will appear in current window. The Widgets and Gadgets option make the availability of links on the user's private or own website for searching Britannica. The citations are formed in MLA Style and APA Style of writing.

3. Evaluation of the World Encyclopaedia by "APPARATUS"

3.1Authority and Objectivity ("A")

Oxford Reference Online can be accessed in most of the public libraries in UK.The World Encyclopedia is one of authoritative resources in the world which is established in Oxford's award-winning print scholarly reference, the collection of written works by international writers and scholars. Internationally recognized authors, editors and contributors manage the publication. Some famous authors such as Margaret Drabble (on English Leterature), Stanley Wells (on Shakepere) and M.R.D Foot (on World War II) are contained in the authors' list. As a result nearly almost information is considerably authoritative. The world encyclopedia is a part of the Oxford Reference Online which combines the rich and scholarly resources supported by titles in the oxford company's series with authority. The authors and editors' qualifications are very high and having the esteemed board of advisory, the world encyclopedia can rely with trust. E-mail address and phone number are provided for the contact information. The publisher is Oxford University Press and is established by Philip's Ltd. The world encyclopedia gives extra materials such as maps and illustrations.

3.2 Purpose ("P")

The aim of the world encyclopedia is to contribute complete information with users effectively. There are many resources such as many English dictionaries and references and the world encyclopedia. It is essential and largely satisfied for all online libraries. It is the higest quality resources that only provide factual information. Any advertisement cannot be seen as it is only focus on scholarly work. Oxford Reference Online is awarded as an authoritative resource which has an illustrious bank of international writers and scholars. World encyclopedia is the biggest and most trusted reference publishers in the world into a single cross-searchable resource. The complete subject spectrum is covered by Oxford Reference Online: from English and Billingual Dictionaries, from General References and Languages to Science and Medicine, and from Humanities and Social Sciences to Business and Professional.

The world encyclopedia is a kind of reference

3.3 Physical Production ("P")

The world encyclopedia is a kind of reference

work which is completely searchable with a range of options. The simple layout of the page makes very easy to use and it also contains the Quick Search tab. There are two search options, the first one is for the world encyclopedia and the second one is for Oxford Reference Online's database. Selection of the titles is more offered in the search result. It can join to other websites supported by Oxford University Press trustily for information only. It provides vital information in some subject area, world affairs, science and technology arts, modern and ancient history, religion, sports and some cultural habits. There are 11,992 entries in general. Nearly all results are displayed in the form of short paragraph. It can include technical terms and hyper links are created so as to be opened other related web pages. It can display around entries in alphabetical order from A to Z, and shows illustrations in articles when it is needed. All the web pages are in completed construction.

3.4 Arrangement ("A")

The entries are organized alphabetically. When a user search with Quick search, the result will be displayed at the centre of the page. Additions, the result will show the next entries that are managed by alphabetical order. Oxford Reference Online is used to update new titles, new editions and new entries 3 times a year. As the encyclopedia is stand-alone reference work from the world's largest and most authenticated Oxford Reference Online resources, and also provide the fully-indexed and accurate information with deep information. It has a cross-reference tool for users to highlight the word and look it up in a single click, so users can get the next results of the whole database. All of the extended links are displaying and it will be ready for the next time if users visit. There is static URLs at subject and title level that mean that links from library catalogues and course materials will be reliable with confidence.

3.5 Accuracy

Oxford Reference Online is added new title, new editions and new entries at least 3 times a year and updated regularly. Since the world encyclopedia is stand-alone give the fully-indexed and accurate information needs including detailed information. There is a cross-reference tool by which users can highlight the word and look it up with single click, so we can see the other result of the whole database and determine accuracy. All of the extensively links are work and it'll be there the next time when we visit again. Static URLs at subject and title level mean that links from library catalogues and course materials can be made with confidence.

3.6 Recency (Currentness)("R")

Oxford Reference Resource has been developed by Oxford University Press which has many qualifications, expertise, experiences with production in books. The contributor of that online website is Philip's Ltd is the contributor of that online and it does not have any bias for religion, politics, and sex. Most of users accept that this online web resource is the biggest, most updated, authentative, reliable, editorially reference work in the world. It contributes about 1.4 million facts and definitions. It provides over 1,000 illustrations, maps and links to other web resources. It also contains mail that can contact and email address. The world encyclopedia is produced in both printed and e-version. It frequently updates three times in a year. Some illustrations are provided for some articles if it is necessary to be more effective information.

3.7 Treatment

The content is managed and supervised by Oxford Reference Press. There are quick search, advanced search and advanced search, it can be refined the search by four features of full of text, entry heading, people and date. Advanced search pages are other options. The information is well produced in a real manner. Search results can be refined by alphabetically or by relevance. The result can be recorded by short category entries, long entries, maps and illustrations. There are also appropriate online FAQs and Help tabs.


User accounts, usernames and passwords are required to access this online resource. It is also available to use from home institution by their library card numbers. A 30 day trial sign-up feature is also provided in Oxford Reference Source for users to decide whether it is useful or not. There are two types of users: Institutions & Organizations and Individuals. The only institutions and organizations can benefit 30 day trial sign-up feature and not for individual. So users can only access that figure through Institutions web link. The target audience includes children, students, researchers, information professions and experts of the science and technology. The world encyclopedia is covered over 13,000 entries, covering all subjects including world affairs, science and technology, the arts, modern and ancient history, religion, sports and popular culture of each country in the world. The reference information is authentic, wide and stimulated resource for home, schools and libraries.

3.9 Scope ("S")

The world encyclopedia is covered the whole world geographical coverage and it contains almost all the events happened in 20th-century history. The result can be seen definitely without being distracted by advertisements in the page. The results of sentence structure are not complex and the search word in sentence is shown in different color. It makes help find to spot the terms. Spelling mistakes and incorrect usage of language are impossible to see. They also use some abbreviation for some terms. It is a valuable and reliable reference for every type of readers with well edited, clear and not use jargon sentence. The articles about countries are composed of color locators, political and physical maps.

3.10 Context and Cost

The world encyclopedia provides only factual information which covers all subject areas. It offers fully-indexed, updated, and cross-searchable dictionaries and reference works published by Oxford University Press, containing clear and detailed information. It is required for annual subscription to institutions worldwide. The prices of subscription are based on the size and type of institution. The cost of the reference work can be checked at

For single user who can pay monthly payment as well as annual subscription may cost about $19 per month and $ 159 for 12 months. It will give the opportunity to enter the entire Oxford Reference Online Collection.

3.11 Additional Features of the world encyclopedia

The responsibility for the content is taken by Oxford Reference Press. It has quick search and advanced search. Two possible ways are available in Quick Search such as search the information related with books or search whole databases of Oxford Reference Source. For instance, when users see about information "business ethics" in Quick Search feature, he will gain almost information that is related to business and ethics. There is no case sensitive for the output results. There has truncation features. Example: if a user type the word car*, it will show him information related to carnal, cardamom, Caribbean, etc.

In Advanced Search, there are three features: Boolean search, Widen search, Standard search and Pattern search. In Pattern search, users are allowed to see text or entry heading in Pattern search. It needs keywords that are spelled similarly. For instance, when users look for "colot" in pattern search, it can retrieve information about "color" and "colour". So, users can apply Pattern search feature very useful when they are not sure spelling of the search term of multiple spellings are existed. Patterns search is also useful to see about the keywords which are originated from foreign alphabets. For instance, when users find the keyword "Appolonius", it will display information about "Appllonius" and "Apollonius". This website is used with wildcards features such as asterisk (*), question mark (?), hash symbol (#), at sign symbol @ and specific stop words.