An internet encyclopedia is an encyclopedia that is accessible on the internet through the world wide web. There are professional and scientific publications, such as English Britannica online and Dutch Winkler Prins online, reference works written and checked by (lay) volunteers, such as Wikipedia and hybrids such as Citizendium and the World History Encyclopedia, where anyone can contribute but entries are checked and so on. need to be improved by a professional editor. The digital online encyclopedia was preceded by digital works on CD-ROM or DVD such as Philips Media's 1996 Medical Encyclopedia.
The idea of a collaboratively written, freely accessible reference work on the Internet dates back at least to the Interpedia proposal in 1993; an early concept for an encyclopedia to which anyone could contribute. This project was never carried out.
In the year 2000, the American internet company Bomis Inc. the first online encyclopedia, Nupedia. Professional staff worked together here under the direction of Larry Sanger. The company's CEOs were Jimmy Wales, Tim Shell, and Michael Davis. The aim was to create a searchable open-content encyclopedia that is freely available on the Internet, and cheaply on other media carriers. It would have more content than any encyclopedia ever. The use of the then new collaborative software Wiki-Wiki and the underlying concept of swarm intelligence resulted from this project, Wikipedia.
Digitization of existing paper encyclopedias
With the development of digital technology, existing printed encyclopedias were increasingly digitized. Initially on digital carriers such as CD-ROM. With the emergence of the internet as a medium, more and more online publications appeared from around 2000. In January 1995, Project Gutenberg began publishing the ASCII text of the 11th edition of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, parts of which have been criticized for ethnocentrism and racism. Due to disagreements about the method, this project got stuck with the first part. It was given the name Gutenberg Encyclopedia because of trademark law. In 2002, others posted the ASCII text of all 28 volumes on the 1911 website encyclopedia.org, with a copyright restriction that probably was not binding. Project Gutenberg later resumed the digitization and control of this encyclopedia. The website no longer exists. A digital copy of the 1911 encyclopedia is available in parts on the website archive org. There is a project on Wikisource to digitize and transfer (upload) the entire 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica to Wikimedia servers so that the contents is made available under the Wikimedia copyright rules. This requires participants to carefully check the result of the OCR scan of an article.
In the meantime, the publishers of the last edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica had themselves digitized it, sold it on CD-ROM and published it on the Internet; this because of competition with the Encarta. Other digitization projects include Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897) on the Christian classics Ethereal Library website and the Bartleby Internet version of the sixth edition of the Columbia Encyclopedia (2000), which was digitized in 2000 and has been regularly updated since.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
In 1991, participants of the Usenet newsgroup alt.fan.douglas-adams began their project to create The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a fictional digital encyclopedia, based on the fantasized encyclopedia in Douglas Adams' books. This project was called Project Galactic Guide. At first it would only contain factual entries, but later fantasy articles were also allowed. Project Galactic Guide contains over 17