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Nupedia was an English-language Web-based encyclopedia whose articles were written by experts and licensed as free content. It was founded by Jimmy Wales and underwritten by Bomis, with Larry Sanger as editor-in-chief. Nupedia lasted from March 2000[1] until September 2003, and is mostly known now as the predecessor of the free wiki encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Unlike Wikipedia, Nupedia was not a wiki; it was instead characterized by an extensive peer-review process, designed to make its articles of a quality comparable to that of professional encyclopedias. Nupedia wanted scholars to volunteer content for free. Before it ceased operating, Nupedia produced 24 articles[2] that completed its review process (three articles also existed in two versions of different lengths), and 74 more articles were in progress.

In June 2008, CNET hailed Nupedia as one of the greatest defunct websites in the still young internet history.[3]



In late 1999, Wales began thinking about an online encyclopedia built by volunteers and, in January 2000, hired Sanger to oversee its development.[1] The project officially went online on March 9, 2000. [4] By November 2000, however, only two full-length articles had been published.[5]

From its beginning, Nupedia was a free content encyclopedia,[4] with Bomis intending to generate revenue from online ads on[5] Initially the project used a homegrown license, the Nupedia Open Content License. In January 2001, it switched to the GNU Free Documentation License at the urgings of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation.[6] However, Stallman got behind Hector Facundo Arena's GNUPedia project at the same time,[citation needed] which led to concerns about possible competition between the projects.

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