"The Electronic Encyclopedia" Bolter, Chapter 5
  • Due to electronic technologies, encyclopedias are easier to use now more than ever. In the past, encyclopedias were arranged and organized topically. Now, because searching is completely automated, topical arrangement is somewhat unnecessary.
    • The electronic encyclopedia can be both deeper and broader than the printed encyclopedia
  • Likewise, this has allowed for readers to participate more in encyclopedias. Not only are they not limited to one single view of the author, they can contribute to the encyclopedias themselves - for example: this Wikispace.
    • The computer allows a reader to manipulate the text at more levels than when the text is printed, for example, an electronic encyclopedia can be organized in as many ways as the reader could imagine or need
  • "The computer can take over the mechanical aspects of consultation: by getting the reader to the article and letting her read, by transferring her from one text to another, and by keeping her aware of her current position within the structure of the encyclopedia." (87)
  • Encyclopedias offer a solution for surplus and scarcity--when there are too many books it offers to control information and when books are not available the encyclopedia summarizes information that the reader can not get from original sources. It puts textual elements in place so the reader can be sure to find them and assures the reader that the texts in the contemporary writing space are under control. The key to an encyclopedia is organization.
  • Electronic structures of online information sources are much less rigid than printed versions. There is no singular way to determine how the reader should move through the hierarchy of information available. Our culture is defining electronic sources of information to reflect a "different natural world, in which relationships are multiple and developing. It is a world in which the distinctions between nature and culture and between information and medium are unstable..." (98).

There has been much debate over the years about the legitimacy of online encyclopedias, especially Wikipedia, where user-generated content is the sole form of content. Some say that it's not legitimate since the information provided could be false or bias. The debate continues as different professors offer their own views and opinions about whether or not Wikipedia can be used as a resource on essays. At the same time, however, the wealth of knowledge available on the Internet is more current than ever and constantly changing, making it much more relevant in terms of new information than the standard printed encyclopedias.