Online community for furthering maths education




PlanetMath was conceived by Nathan Egge ("unlord" on PlanetMath) and Aaron Krowne ("akrowne" on PlanetMath-- yours truly) as a project to fill the void for a central repository for mathematical knowledge on the web, with a pedagogical slant. But we realized that we could do it in a way that would make it a community, built by the users, and that the users would be just as valuable as the content itself. There are now many grassroots-content sites like this (Wikipedia, Citeulike, Slashdot, Fark...), and PlanetMath represents a unique kind of hybrid of MathWorld, Wikipedia, and Slashdot concepts. We think that the end result has proven very useful to many people who are interested in learning math, who are already students studying math, or who make their living in mathematical professions.

The idea for the project was hatched by Egge, sometime around fall 2000, in response to the unfortunate removal of the great resource, "Eric Weisstein's World of Math" (or "MathWorld") from the internet. This incident created a void for a useful, comprehensive math encyclopedia freely available online, which we wanted to fill as quickly as possible. So Nathan and myself began brainstorming the concept and working out many of the problems inherent in a system that would do in real-time what had been static on MathWorld.

We also wanted to make certain that the users of PlanetMath would never have to worry about the removal of the content they had contributed in favour of commercial sale. So it is the express goal of PlanetMath to be an internet resource, first and foremost. We hope to achieve this with the aid of the GNU FDL, or Free Documentation License. Via the FDL, we ensure that the contributors retain the rights to their work.

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