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Interpedia was the working title for a project initiated in 1993 for the cooperative creation and distribution of an encyclopedia over the Internet . It is considered to be one of the forerunners of Wikipedia .


The project was based on an idea by Rick Gates back of this on 22 October 1993 in Usenet - newsgroup presented. His contribution is considered to be the first evidence of the idea of ​​using the Internet for collaborative creation of an encyclopedia. Gates wrote:

“The more I thought about this, the more I realized that such a resource, containing general, encyclopedic knowledge for the layman, would be an important tool for some types of research, and for the Net.Citizenry in general.
but what about contributors ... where will you find authors to write the short articles you need? Well, I'd first have to start out by finding some way of communicating with an extremely diverse set of people ... everyone from linguists, to molecular biologists, from animal rights activists to zymurgists, and from geographers to gas chromotographers. Guess what? :-) The Net provides just such an arena! So I thought about it some more……
and came to the conclusion that this is a good idea! ”

“The more I thought about it, the more I realized that such a source of general encyclopaedic information for the layperson could be an important resource for some types of research and online citizenship in general.
Ahh ... what about the writers ... - where will we find participants to write the short articles we need? - First, I would have to find a way to communicate with very different people ... Everyone from linguists to molecular biologists, animal rights activists, brewery specialists, geographers or gas spectrographers. - Guess :-) The internet offers such a basis. So I thought about it ...
... and came to the conclusion that this is a good idea! "

Discussion phase

Gates' proposal led to a lengthy discussion, which was initially conducted on a mailing list and then, from November 1993, in the newsgroup news: comp.infosystems.interpedia comp.infosystems.interpedia . One of the first participants in the discussion, RL Samuell, coined the term Interpedia .

There has been a dispute over whether all pages should be in HTML , plain text, or free format. Another question was whether other internet sources that were not specifically written for Interpedia could easily have been included in the catalog. Furthermore, several independent quality control agencies (“Seal of approval” (SOAP)) were planned, which could evaluate Interpedia articles according to criteria chosen by them. The users could then decide which agency they would orientate themselves on.

The project never got beyond the planning phase and eventually went under in the face of the rapid development of the Internet. The only article ever produced dealt with absinthe and was essentially a slightly modified posting from a newsgroup.

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