2017 Volume 63 Issue 4 Pages 181-195
The purpose of this study is to clarify whether or not Wikipedia, which is commonly referred to as an online encyclopaedia in the world of digital media, in fact falls within the concept of an encyclopaedia, which is established in the world of print media. In order to discuss the conceptual correspondence between the encyclopaedia and Wikipedia, it is essential to consider the status of modern printed encyclopaedias and Wikipedia in the arrangement of knowledge in their respective media spheres. This study therefore focuses on the roles and attributes of both printed encyclopaedias and Wikipedia. First, we analyse the roles and attributes of an encyclopaedia by conducting a review of research related to them. Then we analyse whether or not Wikipedia fulfills the same roles and has the same attributes as the encyclopaedia by reviewing academic work that investigates and analyses Wikipedia from various perspectives. The results show that Wikipedia does not conceptually correspond to an encyclopaedia, except in cases where people use it for one-time searches. In the world of digital media, Wikipedia does not have the same status that the encyclopaedia holds in the world of print media.