The New Georgia Encyclopedia is a nonprofit collaboration among state, federal and local funding sources to create an online reference work offering a wide range of multimedia-supported content on the history, people, geography and contemporary life in the state of Georgia.

The noncommercial venture, which is free to all users, is a separate entity administered by the University of Georgia Press and Galileo, the online network of the University of Georgia Library System.

Kelly Caudle, managing editor of NGE, described the online project as "a way to keep important reference material perpetually in print. Reference works are expensive and hard to update. We can update the New Georgia Encyclopedia instantly. It will be an invaluable resource to promote education about the state." Caudle said the project cost about $2 million, with $500,000 coming from the state, about $400,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the rest from private donations.

While the site ( is up now, its official launch is set for February 12. At launch, said Caudle, the site will feature about 700 articles, complete with photographs, sound and full motion video. But it is a work in progress—"it can grow endlessly," said Caudle, adding that she expects the site to offer more than 2,000 articles by 2006.

The site features everything "big and small" about Georgia and "a lot of stuff that you might not learn from conventional sources," Caudle said. All of the content is original. The project is directed by editor-in-chief John Inscoe, who organized more than 40 editorial advisers, specialists in topics ranging from sports to geography and politics, who in turn brought in writers for individual articles.

The NGE is strictly a digital publishing project—there is no print version. However, Caudle noted, all the articles feature reading lists and the site offers so much content that books could be developed from it. "The desire for actual, published books will never go away," said Caudle. "We can easily do a book from any subtopic we've got in the encyclopedia."