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Benefits of the Encyclopaedia Aperta

Maintainer: Torsten Wöllert, Version 1, 21.11.2000
Projekt-Typ: halboffen
Status: Archiv

Why Another Encyclopedia?

(1) The Encyclopaedia Aperta is not a real encyclopedia in the traditional sense, although it is, of course, in an ethymological sense (encyclopedia translates as "in the circle of knowledge"). In reality it is a mixture between encyclopedia, library, forum, dictionary, search engine and self-help group.

(2) It tries to reflect a large variety of scientifically valid points of view and to make them visible and usable. It offers a platform for the development and distribution of thought and is in this respect much too dynamic for a traditional encyclopedia.

(3) Contrary to similar projects (e.g. Nupedia, see http://www.nupedia.com) it does not intend to replace traditional encyclopedias, but to include them if possible as an appreciated source of stable knowledge. So we are talking about a new kind of knowledge store, that functions according to the principles of the Internet and of the development of Free/Open Source Software and that uses and expresses the dynamics of the 21st century.

Who is going to benefit?

(4) Well, everybody. Apart from mankind in general in particular these people will benefit:

(5) Authors. They find a high quality forum for the publication of their texts without having to pay for it. All texts are carefully prepared before they are included into the Encyclopaedia Aperta. The authors keep the complete rights for a possible commercial use of their texts. No publishers can simply extract articles from the Encyclopaedia Aperta for commercial publication, because in this case they would have to place the entire publication under the licence of the Encyclopaedia Aperta. However, the publisher can always ask the author for permission to publish the interesting article under another licence for which the author, of course, should receive a remuneration. Additionally authors receive all kinds of feedback by the improvements made by others on their articles, if they did not reserve the right to implement all changes themselves.

(6) Moderators. They get an outstanding overview of the developments in their specialised area and can actively design their presentation . The associated visibility and the various contacts with colleagues resulting from it should have a favourable effect on their scientific reputation.

(7) Translators. They can participate in the design of the Encyclopaedia Aperta in their selected language, whereby they are not limited to mere translations, but can also revise the contents of the articles and adapt them to the national tradition on the basis of the licence of the Encyclopaedia Aperta. Beyond that the Encyclopaedia Aperta is an outstanding source for feeding translation data bases which is freely available to them.

(8) Scientists. They find a rich, clearly structured and above all freely usable collection of different articles on a topic or subject. Since also conflicting points of view may be expressed in different articles, the Encyclopaedia Aperta forms an outstanding starting point for scientific research, whose results can be fed back into the encyclopedia.

(9) Curious ones. They can browse the Encyclopaedia Aperta even more than any other encyclopedia, and they may find some interesting insights by the confrontation of different points of view. They can report cross references between articles they have found to the appropriate moderator.

(10) Discussion freaks. They can take part directly in the design of the encyclopedia or of individual articles by implementing improvements into a new version of the text and submitting them for discussion, or by getting into contact with the author.

(11) But also whole groups of people are going to benefit, for example:

(12) Small publishing houses. They get the opportunity to use the most advanced technical means to prepare their relevant texts for publication without having to spend money for it. Publications on CD-ROM, on the Internet etc. as well as various translations, which would otherwise by far exceed their own means, are thus made possible. The quality of the publication can be guaranteed by using the option to protect texts from changes of contents. Beyond that also other texts of the Encyclopaedia Aperta be used free of charge, as long as the appropriate publication is placed under the licence of the Encyclopaedia Aperta. This way in particular well-known publishing houses could become specialised "distributors" of relevant parts of the Encyclopaedia Aperta, being protected against competition up to a certain degree by their good customer relations and their reputation.

(13) Large publishing houses. They get access to an unprecedented pool of authors that they could never build themselves without disproportionate cost. If some articles or very generally the work of an author appears so interesting to them that they want to include them into a commercial publication instead of publishing it simply under the licence of the Encyclopaedia Aperta, they only need to contact the author and agree on an appropriate compensation for the publication under another licence.

(14) "Fringe groups". They largely benefit from the non-commercial character of the Encyclopaedia Aperta, since their current "fringe" position has frequently been caused by their lack of financial means. The most important characteristics to benefit from the Encyclopaedia the Aperta are above all mental thoroughness, clarity of thought and expression, comprehensibility and commitment, thus characteristics which are strongly developed with some "fringe groups". Additionally there are plans to support interested individuals with existential material problems in such a way that they are enabled to take part in the work on the Encyclopaedia Aperta.

(15) Developing countries. They receive free access to the knowledge stored in the Encyclopaedia Aperta and they can use it freely according to their needs. The importance of this is not to be underestimated in view of the financial situation of the education systems of many of these countries, in particular in connection with international aid projects for the creation of the necessary IT infrastructure. On the other hand they also get access to a modern publication infrastructure and can thus develop and maintain their own stores of knowledge and make their points of view available to a broader international public.

Who is going to suffer?

(16) Well, nobody. Apart from those, who would like to spread their one-size- fits-all dressing as profitably as possible on the whole planet. (So sorry, Bill.)

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