Encyclopedia Britannica articles full text


Encyclopedia Britannica has put much of their content onto the web – but usually only the first hundred or so words of each article are displayed. You must subscribe to read the rest, or you can register for a free trial subscription.

But there’s another way! When the URL of the article has been clicked from a link on a webpage, the full text is displayed. Any links that you include in your website or blog will automatically take your readers to the full text version.

Britannica endorses this technique, by the way, but warns that it won’t work for links from HTML files on your PC. Instead, you must host the HTML file on a webserver.

I guess it won’t be long until we see a website offering links to every Britannica article, or a Firefox extension to streamline this process.

5 Responses to “Encyclopedia Britannica articles full text”

  1. donn says:

    I believe if you turn off sending your referer header (about:config/network.http.sendRefererHeader set to 0 in Firefox) you can browse all the articles normally.

  2. donn says:

    Hmm…maybe not. I seem to be able to read articles regardless.

  3. donn says:

    After further investigation, apparently the technique described by Britannica doesn’t even work for me. I now see that I can only view certain articles in full. For example, I can’t seem to view Nanotechnology – Small is beautiful even from a link on another site. Okay I’ll stop spamming the comments now.

  4. eiffel says:

    Donn, if Britannica shows the full text when people visit an article after clicking on a link, doesn’t that mean you should turn your Referer header ON instead of off? Otherwise, how will Britannica know that you came from a link?

    I visited the Nanotechnology article to check this, and this time I actually read the article. What struck me is how much the style of the writing has changed since the Britannica of my youth, which would never have contained text like:

    “As with any new technology, nanotechnology has characteristics that are frightening to some, and creepy little machines have already infiltrated science-fiction writing…”

  5. caleb says:

    The RefControl Firefox extension lets you spoof a referring URL. Once installed, set http://www.britannica.com to ‘Forge’ and you’re good. that all of it’s pages are linked from britannica.com, and you’re good.

    The ‘Nanotechnolgoy – Small is Beautiful’ article is not part of EB proper, but an entry from their 2005 Book of the Year. For the EB of your youth, see plain old nanotechnology.