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Wikipedia is not only a free encyclopedia, but it’s also a wiki that can be edited by anyone -- this is a major flaw that landed the website in many bad presses of late. While many volunteers police the non-profit internet site, most of them lack the expertise of a professional writer or editor. It is becoming hard to find cold, hard facts on Wikipedia since a general consensus has become the order of the day. Besides this negative parts, the issue of information vandalism is getting out of hand not to talk of ridiculous behavior of the volunteers, making people to source for information in other spheres of the internet world. So, if you’re looking for an alternative to the free encyclopedia, this article is just for you.

1. Scholarpedia

Created from the specific MediaWiki software as Wikipedia, Scholarpedia has a look like a mirror site. While it has some features that are different from what is seen on Wikipedia, the content on the site are entirely written by scholars. The writers are either voted or invited before they can write any topic. And, similar to Wiki, users can edit the content, but all updates are approved before they are completed. This makes all content duly attributed to the author, and the issue of content vandalism is close to nonexistence. 

Formed by one of Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sangers, Citizendium has a balance between Wikipedia and Scholarpedia. The goal of this site is to improve on the flaws of Wikipedia. So anyone can be a contributor, but all content have to be approved by the editorial team of the site. All non-approved material is attached with a disclaimer notice to put the reader on their feet so that they won’t take any false information to heart. Also, it’s mandatory that every contributor registers with their real names, unlike Wikipedia.

3. Encyclopedia Britannica Online

This is the go-to reference for the best trusted and unbiased facts. Besides the usual article texts, every page on the site is now in web format with an easy-to-use search tool and multimedia features. Since this is not a wiki environment, all updates are only made by professionals. With a yearly subscription of $69.95, you can get total access to the encyclopedia and it sounds like an awesome investment student should make since the book format of the encyclopedic set is way expensive. Also, many universities around the world accept the website as a reliable source that students can cite in a research paper – something Wikipedia dare not claim. 

MSN Encarta is another encyclopedia that has successfully avoided the many plagues suffered by Wikipedia. Every entry on the site is written and approved by professionals. Besides, the site is far beyond getting hit by vandalism. For full access to the encyclopedic content which includes a world atlas, thesaurus, and other useful research tools for students, a yearly subscription of $29.95 is required. 

Infoplease is another encyclopedia worth trying. The free site from the largest book distributor in the work Pearson Education clue information from trusted sources like the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia and the Random House Unabridged Dictionary. While the content entry on the site is not anywhere close to that of Wikipedia regarding size, you have a peace of mind knowing that no random fellow is forcing garbage info down your throat. Besides, the site has many research tool which is not only useful to researchers but students attending distance learning courses. 

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