German Wikipedia Outranks Traditional Encyclopedia's Online Version

A review of 50 community-generated articles judged them more accurate, thorough, up-to-date and easy to read.

K.C. Jones, Contributor

December 7, 2007

1 Min Read

The German language Wikipedia has gained kudos for accuracy.

An analysis commissioned by a German weekly, Stern magazine, found that articles from the German version of Wikipedia are better than those in Germany's commercial encyclopedia, Brockhaus.

Analysts from the Wind Research Institute in Cologne compared 50 articles from Wikipedia and the Brockhaus online encyclopedia, which is based on a 15-volume bound edition.

The study reviewed articles for accuracy, completeness, up-to-date information, and ease of reading. In 43 out of the 50 articles, the German Wikipedia came out on top. The German language version is one of the largest of Wikipedia's online encyclopedias. With 673,000 articles, it's second only to the English version.

On a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being the best score, articles from Wikipedia's German version received an average rating of 1.7, while Brockhaus' average rating was 2.7.

"The community of the German language Wikipedia is thrilled that our hard work has paid off," states Kurt Jansson, president of the board of Wikimedia Deutschland. "This really gives us the incentive to continue. This is also symbolic of the wonderful things mass collaboration can produce."

The Wikimedia Foundation said that Hewlett-Packard Information Dynamics Laboratory studied the editing dynamics of Wikipedia articles earlier this year and found that those that are edited frequently, by many contributors, are usually the highest quality.

Wikimedia Deutschland has recruited academics to contribute and received a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection to encourage articles by experts on renewable primary products.

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