These fantastic news just got in from Eirik Newth’s blog. The national Norwegian encyclopædia Store norske leksikon will be opening its database in many different ways. It is currently a very closed paid-subscription-only service that one has to log into to use. However, as of January next year, everyone will be able to use the encyclopædia for free (as in beer).
They are opening up their service in many ways. As I said above, everyone will be able to enjoy it, but they will also allow user-generated content, approved by experts in the relevant fields. They will also allow articles in Nynorsk for the first time. For your information, the Nynorsk Wikipedia has up to now been the only contemporary encyclopædia in Nynorsk, and the only one ever online.
But that’s not all – in addition to opening their content, they will also make the software they use open source. Fantastic news.
In my opinion this is great news for the Norwegian Wikipedias – Store norske leksikon is huge, and a serious competitor. It will make us get our act together, and – most importantly – something that we can measure and compare ourselves to, and draw inspiration from. The only thing I miss is for Store norske leksikon to be released under a free license. But maybe we can do something about that?