This page is one of the original Nupedian pages from the original nupedia.com website and has been protected and archived to prevent any further edits of About Nupedia for the purpose of history.
What is Nupedia?
Nupedia is a new online, peer-reviewed, international encyclopedia. It is searchable and will also be organized hierarchically and alphabetically. Nupedia is "open content" or "free"; we want the contents of the encyclopedia to receive the widest possible distribution. Reading Nupedia will always be free of charge and therefore the project of building it depends on volunteers-possibly you!
How can I help build the encyclopedia?
Then please inform yourself about the project by reading pages on this website (including the rest of this page); the more that you read about our project, the better you will understand what's going on here. If you are interested in writing Nupedia articles, please write them from scratch, without blind content pasting from Wikipedia. If you are interested in assisting us as an editor or peer reviewer, please read our guidelines. In any case, you will have to do as a member (which is free, of course); about this, you might wish to register here.
What does it mean to say that Nupedia is "open content"?
It means that you will be able to use any part of the contents of Nupedia in any way you see fit, with our compliments. Generally speaking, there are just two conditions: (1) you must give Nupedia prominent mention as the source of your material, and (2) you must not attempt to stop anyone else from using the material. Those familiar with the "open source" movement in software development may immediately understand the tremendous implications this has. For more information on this, or if you do intend to use materials from Nupedia, please consult the Nupedia staff. We make use of the GNU General Documentation License and have the active support of Richard Stallman's Free Software Foundation.
Why a new encyclopedia?
Our goal is to grow Nupedia indefinitely, to set a new standard for breadth, depth, timeliness, and lack of bias, and in the fullness of time to become the most comprehensive encyclopedia in the history of humankind. Obviously, we're ambitious, but we're also smart, innovative, and hard-working. And we have serious, committed, long-term financial backing from our parent company and the help of several paid employees.
I read that you believe your articles will be better than Britannica's. Come now, are you serious?
Perfectly serious. As just one example, see Christoph Hust's several articles on atonality, etc... and compare his work to similar online content. With your help, Nupedia will be more in-depth, of higher quality, and moreover, constantly improving!
How do you ensure that your articles are high-quality?
We have established a unique, rigorous peer review process that requires that articles be assigned by editors, approved by at least three experts in the relevant subjects, and copyedited. Please see our editing history to see this process in action; the public is welcome to browse through and participate where appropriate.
Who are your editors, peer reviewers, and writers?
Please have a look at their edits. Most of our subject editors, peer reviewers, and writers are experts on the subjects they oversee and write about, who have volunteered their time. If you are qualified, your participation in this process will be highly valued and, we think, rewarding. We believe there are three main reasons our contributors are involved: first, they wish to be involved in an encyclopedia project that is, in a very real sense, a public and worldwide endeavor; second, they believe that their work on the encyclopedia will, very probably, receive very wide distribution online and offline (in no small part because Nupedia is open content); and, third, they believe the editorial direction and mechanisms established by the Nupedia leaders to be excellent. If there is a subject about which you are qualified to write, or you are interested in composing brief articles that any articulate person with research skills can write, please! You may also learn more about and in the capacity of editor or peer reviewer.
This project seems so rigorously edited that I feel I might not be welcome. Are you concerned about that?
We most certainly are. We want everyone to feel welcome. Nupedia is a genuine online community, and we want you part of it. If you would prefer a more open project, you might, however, be more interested in it, which we hope will complement Nupedia. Nupedia editors and peer reviewers are not associated (except by their individual choice) with Wikipedia; it's a separate project.
This is an International English effort-so will you translate articles from Dutch, German, etc.?
Yes, whenever we can recruit competent volunteer translators for this (as it appears we can). We intend to set up our system so that translations from any number of different languages are possible. This will take time, however; we must first get a basic system up and running, which is quite a tall order itself. We do already welcome submissions in both American and British English, with copyediting groups committed to each. We are also willing to accept submissions drafted in other languages, but they must first be translated into English before they can be posted here and reviewed. We can assist with the task of translation.
Who directs Nupedia?
The first and so far only editor-in-chief was Lawrence M. Sanger, who earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Ohio State in 2000. Larry's specializations are Epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and Early Modern Philosophy, but he regards himself as a generalist. When the Internet economy collapsed, the funding for Sanger's position disappeared, so he was forced to resign. We also have the assistance of a few paid programmers-as well as many volunteers. Nupedia is organized by Bomis, Inc.
What sort of editorial policies will Nupedia follow?
On this important question, please see our help pages.
Who designed your logo?
Sally Milo in Tucson, Arizona. We are very pleased with her work.
How can one help promote the Nupedia project?
The most effective way would be to post announcements on Internet mailing lists and newsgroups. Also, a flyer about Nupedia is now available for printing. If you would like to help the project, please print the flyer out and post it on academic department bulletin boards and other suitable locations (after asking for any needed permissions, of course).