It seems as if the Encyclopedia Britannica is trying to go web 2.0. Sorta, kinda, maybe.

By way of their Britannica WebShare site, the publishers are now offering free access to their online articles to “people who publish with some regularity on the Internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, or writers”.

A web publisher can also link to and offer their readers full access to those articles, although they won’t be able to get to other stuff on the site without paying the customary fee.

Of course, this is all dependent on whether the folks at Britannica consider you worthy since they “reserve the right to deny participation to anyone who in our judgment doesn’t qualify”.

I wonder if they block the digital door to anyone who posts negative things about online versions of dead tree reference books.

Seriously, however, is this really a step forward or just a way to get lots of people to play the role of the door-to-door sales force they had when I was growing up?