Monday, September 3, 2007

The Interpedia was the name given to the first proposals for an Internet encyclopedia which would allow anyone to contribute by writing articles and submitting them to the central catalog of all Interpedia pages.
Interpedia was initiated by Rick Gates, who reportedly posted on 22 October 1993 the following to the Usenet newsgroup
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.
Ahh.. 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 term Interpedia was coined by R. L. Samuell, a participant in early discussions on the topic.
Discussion initially took place on a high-volume mailing list, and in November, 1993 the Usenet newsgroup comp.infosystems.interpedia was created (see [1]).
There was some disagreement about whether all pages should be in HTML, plain text, or whether all formats should be allowed (e.g., as with Gopher). Another point of discussion was whether outside Internet resources not specifically written for the Interpedia could become part of it by simply including them in the catalog.
Furthermore, several independent "Seal-of-approval" (SOAP) agencies were envisioned which would rate Interpedia articles based on criteria of their own choosing; users could then decide which agencies' recommendations to follow.
In the end, the project never left the planning stages and finally died, taken over by the explosive growth of the World Wide Web.

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