Encyclopaedia Britannica has taken the bold move of putting its 32-volume set online free of charge.
Britannica.com will carry all the material from the encyclopaedia plus news commentary and features on the issues of the day, said publishers of the 231-year-old reference works. It stressed, however, that the move did not mean it would be giving up its CD version of the encyclopaedias.
"Britannica has long been at the heart of British culture, and is now at the heart of the Internet," explained James Strachan, managing director of Britannica.co.uk.
"We are far more than an encyclopaedia - our aim is to be the most trusted online source of information and learning, combining human skill and knowledge with the latest technology. We are well on our way to building a Britannica Community which will be an all-round daily knowledge resource for our users."
The UK site, Britannica.co.uk, is slated to go live next year.
The brave move has come as no surprise to industry watchers. Britannica was slow to enter the CD and online markets, and the cost of its disc format products was far higher than any of its rivals. It has also been hit by the fact that Microsoft has gained an edge in the market by signing up bundling deals for the Encarta encyclopedia.
Britannica plans to make money from its online venture from advertising revenue.
Some parts of Atacama have not received rainfall for 500 years - but a sudden deluge of water upset the Desert's delicate biological balance
Spitzer Space Telescope could not spot Oumuamua, suggesting that it is actually pretty small
Greenland crater one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth
This long-sought progenitor star was identified in an image captured by Hubble in 2007