Encyclopedias and encyclopedism in the era of the Web


The paper traces the development of digital encyclopedias through four main stages: 1. The age of the first text-based online services; 2. the age of multimedia CD-ROMs, mainly based on the idea of an offline multimedia encyclopedia; 3. the first generation of web encyclopedias, when the web version initially supplemented and then thoroughly replaced CD-ROMs; 4. the age of data oriented, semantic-aware encyclopedias. This chronological framework is used to discuss how different models of encyclopedias and encyclopedism – including the Wikipedia model – have been intertwined with technological developments on the one side, and with the cultural debate on the new digital ecosystem (and on its role for the publishing industry) on the other.


Digital Publishing; Encyclopedias; Wikipedia.

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