Determined not to let free, community-driven information services inherit the earth, Encyclopaedia Britannica is fighting back with a new, reasonably-priced iPad app. (It costs $2 a month, or $24 a year, versus $70 a year for the Web version and about $1,400 for the print version.) Meanwhile -- arguably as important as any price -- gadget god Walt Mossberg just gave the app his blessing. "It is much cleaner and more attractive than the cluttered Britannica website and sports some nice features, including a dynamic 'link map' showing the relationship between topics in a visual format," Mossberg writes in All Things D.
Meanwhile, "Unlike the Web version, it is free of ads." Mossberg also notes that while Britannica is "often trusted by ... teachers and parents over less rigorously vetted sources," its content library remains far smaller than, say, Wikipedia. (The Britannica app contains 140,000 articles, while Wikipedia has about 3.7 million, by Mossberg's count.) What's more, "Many contemporary topics, like the latest in pop culture, or some current public figures, are included in Wikipedia, but missing from Britannica," he writes, while noting that Britannica does touch on topics missing from Wikipedia.