An online encyclopedia is a database that offers an electronic encyclopedia (general or specialist encyclopedia ) or an electronic dictionary as queryable content , and which is made available “ online ” (on the Internet ).
Some of these works are freely accessible, such as the online encyclopedia Wikipedia or the online dictionary Wiktionary , others are subject to a charge, in that they can be accessed either by subscription or by pay-per-view . In Germany, paid information systems for which the German Research Foundation has acquired a national license can be accessed free of charge by persons registered in the country.
The material of the online lexicon is available in digital form , which, compared to the printed lexicon, also enables multimedia content such as animations, films and sound recordings. Compared to encyclopedias published on other digital media such as CD-ROM , web- based reference works can more easily be kept permanently up-to-date, and this work can be carried out in a decentralized manner in the sense of cloud technology . The information is available as a database and can be queried - and edited - interactively . In principle, printed and digitized lexicons do not differ in terms of textual content (especially not if originally printed lexicons were digitized), but they do differ in terms of the links and embedding of the contents with one another and search functions , which makes looking up and gleanings much easier and enriching.
Current issues do not stop at the mere transfer of printed issues or card boxes into electronic media, but use the shared electronic database to build up the lexemes and indexes (automatically generated cross-references ). The systematic performance is then provided by rewriting by the authorship on the basis of the lexical databases, for example using the DICT network protocol . In these systems, the systematics of the content can be controlled by spatial images of the network structure of the lexemes and can also serve as a navigation tool.