Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

1.16. Why isn't there an encyclopedia available on the Internet?

Although the information on the Internet is certainly encyclopedic in scope, there is no encyclopedia available free to the public on the Internet. (There are indeed encyclopedias on the Net, but they all are closed systems available only to students at a specific university or employees at a certain company.)

The reason for this is about what you'd expect: the companies that make encyclopedias are in business to stay in business, and you don't stay in business by giving away your product. For now, Internet users will have to stick with trekking to the library.

Note: If you use CompuServe, America Online, or just about any other online service, you have access to an online encyclopedia. Why can those services offer the public access to traditional encyclopedias? They pay stiff fees to encyclopedia creators to do so and then pass the cost on to their customers.

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