Cosma / Communication / Knowledge / Form / Introduction / Reference / Encyclopedia

Order, unity and continuity are human inventions just as truly as encyclopedias. — Bertrand Russell




encyclopedia : a work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or treats comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge usually in articles arranged alphabetically often by subject — Webster

Free Dictionary, Wiktionary, OneLook

Creating a dictionary’s spurred
By an urge to define every word;
While for topics unbounded
A large and well-grounded
Encyclopaedia’s often preferred. — Roger Vick

Encyclopedia 2

Encyclopaedia is a reference work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or that treats a particular branch of knowledge in a comprehensive manner. — Encyclopædia Britannica

Encyclopaedistics or encyclopaedics as a discipline, is the academic scholarship of encyclopedias as sources of encyclopedic knowledge and cultural objects as well; in this sense, this discipline is also known as “encyclopaedia studies” and can be termed as “theoretical encyclopaediography” by analogy with theoretical lexicography. Encyclopaedistics as a practical activity (profession or business) also called “encyclopaedic practice” is the process of assembling encyclopaedias available to the public for sale or for free (encyclopaedia publishing or practical encyclopediography). In this sense, it is the art or craft of writing, compiling, and editing the paper or online encyclopedias. — Wikipedia

Online Encyclopedias

Encyclopædia Britannica

Credo Reference
World Book Online (Requires Account)

Columbia Encyclopedia (Information Please)



Encyclopædias bulging with lore
(Gallimaufries of facts to explore,
Alphabetically stored,
Comprehensively broad)
Were a staple of sales (door-to-door). — Rusty


The controversial origins of the Encyclopedia (Addison Anderson, TED-ED)

A Revolutionary Encyclopedia (Washington University Libraries)
Édition Numérique Collaborative et CRitique de l’Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers de Diderot, D’Alembert et Jaucourt, 1751-1772 (Académie des sciences)
Encyclopédie (Encyclopædia Britannica)

Ideology and Encyclopedism: Reflections and Implications (SIG HFIS: History and Foundations of Information Science)
Lost Encyclopedias: Before and after the Enlightenment (Richard Yeo, JSTOR)

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th (1875) & 10th (1902) Edition (1902encyclopedia.com)

Encyclopædia Britannica History (Encyclopædia Britannica)
Encyclopædia Britannica History (Wikipedia)

History of Wikipedia (Wikipedia)
Nupedia (Wikipedia)

Encyclopaedias : their history throughout the ages: a bibliographical guide with extensive historical notes to the general encyclopaedias issued throughout the world from 350 b.c. to the present day (Robert Lewis Collison)

History of Encyclopedias (Encyclopædia Britannica)
History of Encyclopedias (Wikipedia)
List of Historical Encyclopedias (Wikipedia)


Quotations Page


Library of Congress # AE encyclopaedia (UPenn Online Books)

WorldCat, Library of Congress, UPenn Online Books, Open Library



Writing an Encyclopaedia Entry (Phil Davies, Writing Together Bangor)


MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching
OER Commons: Open Educational Resources


Britannica Spotlight (Encyclopædia Britannica)


Kister’s best encyclopedias : a comparative guide to general and specialized encyclopedias (Kenneth F Kister)






Look Inside the Extremely Rare Codex Seraphinianus, the Weirdest Encyclopedia Ever (Andrea Girolami, Wired)



World Brain, as proselytized by H. G. Wells in a series of talks and essays in 1937, was to be manifested in a World Encyclopedia—a repository of scientifically established knowledge—that would spread enlightenment around the world and lead to world peace. — World Brain (H. G. Wells, MIT Press)

World Brain: The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopaedia (H.G. Wells, Contribution to Encyclopédie Française)
World Brain (H. G. Wells, MIT Press)
World brain (H. G. Wells, WorldCat)

The Encyclopedia Galactica, sometimes spelt Encyclopaedia Galactica or called the Encyclopedia Foundation, was a compendium of knowledge collected by the Seldon Project, and later the Foundations, from 12,058 GE onwards. Originally conceived as a fraudulent project to cover the real Seldon Plan, it later became an important Galactic work, as the ultimate compendium of human knowledge and a major part of Foundation history. — Encyclopedia Galactica (Asimov Wiki)

Foundation series (Asimov Wiki)
Foundation Books in Order: How to read Isaac Asimov’s series? (Fabien, How to Read Me)

Encyclopedia Galactica: How Carl Sagan helped turn an alien obsession into iconic space art (Jon Lomberg, Astronomy)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, also known simply as the Guide or the book, was a guidebook for hitch-hikers throughout the Universe which featured heavily in the sci-fi series of the same name. It was produced by Megadodo Publications, which employed Ford Prefect as one of its researchers; eventually leading him to become stranded on planet Earth for fifteen years while writing a Guide entry about Earth. — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhikers Wiki!)

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: 40 years of parody and predictions (Shamini Bundell, Nature)


OEDILF: The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form




Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.

Knowledge Form

Introduction Discipline

Reference Dictionary, Thesaurus, Glossary, Encyclopedia, Outline, Guide



1.   The resources on this page are are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma.

2.   The information on this page was initially developed in the year 2000 while Mary E. Hopper was taking a course entitled LS407 Reference/Information Services at the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. It was a legendary, very rigorous course taught by Dr. Allen Smith.