Why this lecture is important

An encyclopedia (aka cyclopedia) is a collection of articles covering a wide variety of topics. There are many admirable encyclopedias. I remember many fond hours spend reading Compton's Encyclopedia and the venerable 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. While we think of encyclopedia as a massive compendium of information, the original meaning of the word was as a collection of knowledge for education. The "cyclo" portion of the word suggesting a circle encompassing the seven so-called liberal arts.

Maintaining an encyclopedia accurate and comprehensive is a difficult task. What constitutes everyday knowledge changes over time. This talk describes the construction of a web-hosted encyclopedia.

One way to capture encyclopedia content is to do it on-line and allow editing and comments by the whole community. The Wikipedia is one application of the dynamic web page technology used in Ward Cunningham's WikiWiki systems. If you are intrigued by the idea you may want to read his book, The Wiki Way.

Equally important is the decision to generate, in parallel, a professionally written and edited encyclopedia with a well defined authorship/edit/review policy.