Following its announcement back in March to cease production of its printed reference volumes, Encyclopaedia Britannica has continued its transformation into a 21st century information resource by teaming up with Microsoft to become a key source of data for the latter’s search engine site, Bing.

Under the arrangement a special box with an Encyclopaedia Britannica fact will appear on the search results page whenever it is deemed relevant to the enquiry in question.

The box will also include links to Wikipedia, Freebase, Kwiki, and other information resource sites if the latter contain further information on the subject in question.

Commenting on the move, a spokesperson from Microsoft said:

“We are excited about how new instant answers from Britannica Online delivers relevant information in a more organised way that helps people find information more quickly.”

Meanwhile, Bing’s Franco Salvetti, said he believed that the “useful facts and figures” from Encyclopaedia Britannica would help build trust among users of web searches.

Many industry commentators have seen Bing’s enhancement of its search engine facility using Encyclopaedia Britannica data as a response to developments on other search engine sites; most notably Google’s attempt to consolidate its data resources to provide more in-depth findings for users.

Known as Google’s ‘knowledge graph’, the additional search result information has been available since the middle of May, and is most usually apparent to the user in the form of a box on the results page providing a data summary together with pointers to where the user can obtain more information.