Constructing the Digital Universe

Join us–and spread the word!

We want you–and all of the intellectuals of the world–to join us.

We want your help in building the Digital Universe. In just a few sentences, the Digital Universe is going to be a free, noncommercial, expert-driven but public-participatory general information service. This is a long-term project. We will use cutting-edge strategies and tools, including radical collaboration and wikis, to develop a Web directory, 3D objects (viewable online), an encyclopedia, citizen journalism, and much more. It will become the central clearinghouse for free, reusable, authoritative information. It will also be a new community. The project will reflect a new, more mature, responsible Internet culture, governed by an enforceable Charter that defines the community. But it will still be loads of fun, and hugely educational!

By the way, I was Wikipedia's original chief organizer; in brief, Wikipedia was my idea, and I appreciate both its success and its failures. No disrespect to Jimbo and the Wikipedians intended, but this new project is going to be better than Wikipedia ever had a chance of becoming, both in terms of reliability and in many other ways.

Please sign up to get involved as content creator, or just to follow our progress and to give us advice.

If you are a credentialed expert, please express your interest in becoming a Steward. This will not commit you to anything. It just puts you on our radar and allows us to get you in touch with others in your field. The next step will be the creation of independent, nonprofit organizations–information coalitions–in every discipline.

If you are, well, anybody else capable of doing work at the college level, then by golly please sign up to get in the loop. Just give us your e-mail address and we'll let you know what's starting up when. We'll respect your privacy, of course.

And no, of course you don't have to sign up for the ISP service to participate: participation, and the results of that participation, will always be free. In case you're wondering, the purpose of the ISP service–which is under the management of the socially-responsible ManyOne Networks, which in turn is answerable to the nonprofit ManyOne Foundation–is to provide funds for the nonprofit Digital Universe Foundation, with proceeds going to expert Stewards and key participants. This is emphatically a nonprofit and noncommercial project.

We are now about to try to get the word out in every way we can.

Anything you can do (within the bounds of decency and good netiquette) to spread the word would be very welcome.

Let's try peer-to-peer. I would like strongly to encourage that you–personally–copy this blog post and paste it into an e-mail (make sure the URLs are included or links clickable), and send it to people you think might be interested. If you have received this via e-mail, pass it on to others, please. Please don't "spam" it to people who wouldn't want it. Also, if you want, cc me. I'm thanking you in advance, but if you cc me I can thank you personally, and read and assimilate any advice you have for us. I care what you think, maybe more than I should. I'll pass on good ideas to the people who can make them happen.

A blog link wouldn't do any harm either. 😉

Best regards,
Larry Sanger
Larry.Sanger at dufoundation.org

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