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Britannica to Launch UK Site

Following the much-publicised online placement of Encyclopaedia Britannica, the publisher has announced that it will tailor a UK version of the site as it moves towards community-oriented information.

The site will launch early next year.

Since Encyclopaedia Britannica brought out its first edition in 1768, it has sold millions of copies, often using high pressure techniques in shopping centres and trade shows to gain more customers. Now it is all freely available to anyone with an Internet connection.

While Britannica.com is aimed primarily at consumers in the United States, Britannica.co.uk will carry news, commentary and features for UK and European readers, together with the general information of the encyclopaedia.

"Britannica has long been at the heart of British culture, and is now at the heart of the Internet," said James Strachan, managing director of Britannica.co.uk.

"We are far more than an encyclopaedia - our aim is to be the most trusted online source of information and learning, combining human skill and knowledge with the latest technology. We are well on our way to building a 'Britannica Community' which will be an all-round daily knowledge resource for our users."

On the Internet, Britannica now offers the full text of the encyclopaedia, news feeds from top newspapers and newswires, articles from over 70 magazines from The Economist to Esquire, a browsable Web directory, daily features in 15 subject channels, and special features on topics of current and historical interest.

Encyclopaedia Britannica says it will continue to publish its CD and DVD products, with new products becoming available at the end of this month. A completely new 40-volume edition of the main encyclopaedia will launch in 2001.