Open Encyclopedia System

In recent years, online encyclopedias have become a significant form of publication in the humanities and social sciences. Academic encyclopedias are increasingly published exclusively online or in dual or hybrid formats. However, they are predominantly implemented using proprietary and individual solutions, which require a huge development effort. Furthermore, existing solutions frequently do not tap into the full potential of e-publishing, especially in the areas of multimedia, interactivity, collaboration, incremental publication and web-based editorial workflows.

Our aim is to develop an open source standardized online platform, the Open Encyclopedia System, for building and maintaining online encyclopedias in the fields of humanities and social sciences that provide readers worldwide free and unrestricted online access to scientific content (Open Access).

Based on the experience gained in building an online encyclopedia on the First World War (, we are planning to develop a digital framework that hosts a collection of customizable workflow management and editing tools to create, publish and maintain academic reference works.

The standardized online platform will feature:

  • Content management tools and a text editor,
  • Versioning of published articles,
  • Adaptable processing tools for reviews and external multimedia sources,
  • Online community for authors, editors and other researchers,
  • Crowd sourcing options (comments, media, links, bibliography),
  • User login and a personalizable environment.

The Open Encyclopedia System will also be released as open source software, allowing other encyclopedia projects to customize the OES-Software modules to their individual needs.