The Colorado Encyclopedia began in 2009 when Colorado Humanities convened a group of Colorado enthusiasts to talk about developing a reliable compendium of information on life in Colorado. From these conversations a state encyclopedia began to take shape. Through the contributions of many collaborators, it has grown to fruition.
From the start, a few principles have governed the development of the Encyclopedia: its entries and essays had to be authoritative but also accessible to a wide audience, and it had to be an online publication in order to remain up-to-date and reach as many people as possible.
The initial set of Encyclopedia entries are organized into six sections – Origins, Diversity, Community, Ecology, Political Economy, and Place – to provide users with a coherent body of knowledge. Section Editors were responsible for recruiting writers, identifying topics, and writing an essay to introduce the section and its pertinence to Colorado. Initial contributors included undergraduate and graduate students as well as nationally known scholars and local experts, and the topics were chosen by the editors in a collaborative fashion.
To ensure the Encyclopedia is relevant to students and educators in the state’s school system, it includes entries and essays leveled for 4th, 8th-, and 10th-grade students and curricular materials such as primary sources and Annotated Resource Sets. Finally, the Encyclopedia includes information for scholars and researchers interested in an in-depth understanding of the state’s development.
Colorado Encyclopedia is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.