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Encyclopedia Britannica offers access to its online collection for free this week only as it moves from printing books to an entirely digital format. Normally you’d expect a publication’s decision to stop its print edition to cause some internal mourning. Not so for Encyclopedia Britannica. The halt of production marks the end of a print publication two centuries old, but rather than dwell on what has been lost the company has decided to offer the online edition for free over the next week.

Perhaps you didn’t even know that there was an online edition, which is precisely why they’re giving out this freebie. You can access the free content simply by going to britannica.com. There is no sign-up required, not even a basic email/password registration.

The basic layout is fairly similar to Wikipedia, but the online version of Britannica sometimes offers more images and more consistently links to other, related topics. You also won’t be seeing any of those “insufficient sources” notifications because this is still a traditional encyclopedia with entries that go through a professional editorial process.

Since the Encyclopedia Britannica is going out of print, this is your last chance to pick it up in its typical 32-book format. The final print edition is listed at $1,395 at the Britannica store “while supplies last.” The online edition is $69.95 a year, so the final volumes are probably best left in the hands of collectors.

Source: Digital Inspiration

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Image Credit: Stewart Butterfield

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