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An encyclopedia or, encyclopaedia is a reference book or resource giving information on many subjects or on many aspects of one subject. Encyclopedia Britannica is one of the most famous paper encyclopedias, though Wikipedia® and Conservapedia are both well-known encyclopedias based on MediaWiki software and hosted on the internet.

The word 'encyclopedia' comes from the Greek phrase meaning 'all around education', the circle of arts and sciences considered by the Greeks as essential to a liberal education, but their emphasis was on the spoken word and it was left to the Romans to record their knowledge in readable form.

French philosopher Perre Bayle introduced the concept of a nonpartisan reference book in the 1690s.

A famous encyclopedia, the Encyclopédie was published in France between 1751 and 1772, and edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert.