There’s something warm and fuzzy about being labeled “useful,” as Jeanne Duffey calls encyclopedias, including Answers.com, in her well-written column for news-leader.com:
Donna Bacon, a reference librarian interviewed for the article, offers Answers.com as a good example for where to turn for reference information.
Yes, online encyclopedias are convenient, handy and useful. Bacon recommends Answers.com. “This site uses reputable sources for their encyclopedia-type entries. The reference content is derived from publishers known for their accuracy and reliability.”
Information on the site’s 4 million topics is updated frequently and it’s easy to find what you need, either via a search box or by linking to a list of 18 subjects, from Arts to Zoology. Under each topic are hundreds of subtopics. (source)
I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty damn warm and fuzzy. The truth is, it’s really wonderful to be noted like that by a reference librarian.
While WikiAnswers is most certainly a user-contributed effort, Answers.com certainly embraces the reference side of the coin with its 100′s of resources (almanac, dictionary, government, and of course – encyclopedia).
Sometimes you want straight definitions and fast facts (Answers.com), and sometimes you want advice and experience (WikiAnswers). You could say that one picks up where the other leaves off.