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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Free online encyclopedias for learning and knowledge

We all are familiar with the term ‘Encyclopedia’ which is meant to be a source of information. Internet offers lots of useful resources for learning and online encyclopedia is a great tool for information and knowledge.  Most of the encyclopedias are free to use and these are the best places for students, scholars, researchers, and teachers to collect knowledge. For any topic or subject you can access the free encyclopedia sites and search for it.

Do you know what is meant by ‘Encyclopedia’ and what we can get from it?
This article would be useful for students, teachers, scholars or parents, who search the world wide web for information . Included is a list of encyclopedias which you can further search for a specific type of information.

According to the definition by "Wikipedia":
"An encyclopedia is a comprehensive written compendium that contains information on either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge. Encyclopedias are divided into articles with one article on each subject covered. The articles on subjects in an encyclopedia are usually accessed alphabetically by article name and can be contained in one volume or many volumes, depending on the amount of material included.
“ Indeed, the purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come; and so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy, and that we should not die without having rendered a service to the human race."

Difference between a dictionary and encyclopedia?
-  ‘A dictionary primarily focuses on words and their definitions, and typically provides limited information, analysis, or background for the word defined.’
 - ‘ An encyclopedia treats each subject in more depth and conveys the most relevant accumulated knowledge on that subject or discipline, given the overall length of the particular work. An encyclopedia also often includes many maps and illustrations, as well as bibliography and statistics.’
Free encyclopedia
The concept of a new free encyclopedia began with the Interpedia proposal on Usenet in 1993, which outlined an Internet-based online encyclopedia to which anyone could submit content and that would be freely accessible.
The English Wikipedia became the world’s largest encyclopedia in 2004 at the 300,000 article stage. As of July 2007, Wikipedia has over 2.0 million articles in English and well over 8 million combined in over 250 languages.
Wikipedia is one of the first "user generated content" encyclopedias.
Famous Encyclopedias:
Upto now Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a leading provider of learning and knowledge products. It is one of the world’s most trusted sources of information on every topic imaginable - from the origins of the universe to current events and everything in between.
Encarta encyclopedia  from msn article centerProvides more than 42,000 articles on the world of knowledge–from aardvark to zither.
HighBeam Encyclopedia provides you reference entries from credible, published sources like Britannica, Oxford University Press, and Columbia Encyclopedia.
At HighBeam Encyclopedia, you get free access to nearly 200,000 reference entries from sources you can cite. Plus, more than 50,000 topic summaries feature related pictures, videos, topic summaries, and newspaper and magazine articles from around the world. HighBeam Encyclopedia also provides innovative tools that allow you to rate and sort the reference content you find to be the most useful. is the world’s first computer generated encyclopedia. All vital stats information has been inferred based upon text on the subject.
It is an automated encyclopedia that brings together the best information from around the web on over 200,000 topics. Try searching for anything at all in the search box provided. The entire database is made available free of charge from the website.
Kids Encyclopedias: kids safe portal for children, parents, schools and teachers.
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