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Keywords:

  • philosophy;
  • encylopedia;
  • reference work;
  • dynamic;
  • collaborative authorship

The present information explosion on the World Wide Web poses a problem for the general public and the members of an academic discipline alike, of how to find the most authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date information about an important topic. At the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), we have since 1995 been developing and implementing the concept of a dynamic reference work (DRW) to provide a solution to these problems, while maintaining free access for readers. A DRW is much more than a web-based encyclopedia, and its scope far exceeds that of an electronic journal or preprint exchange. In this article we document the progress of the SEP toward full implementation of the DRW concept. We discuss the fiscal challenges posed by our desire to maintain free or low-cost access to the contents of the SEP, and we consider technological challenges posed by the desire to stay abreast of technological developments in document markup while making it easy for authors and subject editors to write and maintain entries representing the very best scholarship.