Wikipedia:1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica

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The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica is out of copyright and can in some cases be used as a source of material for the English Wikipedia. However, it is now quite old, and there are many problems with this material in a modern encyclopedia. Even in 1917, Willard Huntington Wright criticized it as an unreliable source in his scathing Misinforming a Nation, a 200+ page critical examination of the problems with the encyclopedia. Wright saw the "myth" of the EB1911 being the best and greatest Encyclopedia as a testament to a successful marketing campaign which usually didn't hold up under critical examination.

The {{1911}} template should always be used whenever significant amounts of imported text appear in an article; in addition, you should consider use of one of the expanded templates to warn readers and guide other editors. Before using one of the online versions as a source, read the appropriate section below.

The following is a checklist of things to do to make this material most useful for Wikipedia.

There is some beautifully written material in the Encyclopædia that has not been outmoded and still can serve modern readers. You should feel free to quote sections using the {{quote}} template, as long as you do so from an original, textually reliable source, giving proper credit and including a link to 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

Although the Encyclopædia is not copyrighted and you can copy its phrasing directly, Wikipedia cannot advertise the presence of this material using the word "Britannica", which is a trademark of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Of course, we can still use that phrase within our pages to give proper credit. Indeed, you should always cite your sources in a References section on the same page.

The 1911 Encyclopædia can continue to be a resource for readers well into the 21st century for --some purposes--with care and discretion in using it.


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