Wikipedia 'is the best'

2007-12-06 07:15

Hamburg - The German version of the do-it-yourself online reference work Wikipedia is better than Germany's most prestigious commercial encyclopaedia, the weekly magazine Stern asserted on Wednesday.

It engaged WIK, a research institute, to compare 50 randomly chosen articles from Wikipedia with 50 matching articles in the regularly updated online version,, of the Brockhaus, Germany's equivalent of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Wikipedia is a website which can be altered by anyone who notices a mistake or wants to improve the information displayed, provided the contributor presents sufficient documentary evidence to back up the new information.

Stern said the Wikipedia's average rating was 1.7 on a scale where 0 is best and five is worst. The Brockhaus rated 2.7 on the same measure.

The articles were assessed for accuracy, completeness, how up to date they were and how easy they were to read.

In 43 matches, the Wikipedia article was judged the winner.

The co-operative project trumped by being up to date with the news. It gave Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti's death date the next day, but Brockhaus had not noted this even weeks later. But Stern said Wikipedia also had the lead in accuracy.

The German-language section of Wikipedia, numbering 673 000 articles, is the second biggest after the English version.

Bilingual readers say the German articles tend to be more formal than the English ones.

The German editors often delete subjects they consider unimportant, such as lists, details of manual skills or television show plots. - Sapa-dpa