During the past decade, the massive worldwide conversion of learning content from print and other older media on to digital networks has created gatekeepers who limit access to their digital content or require online users to pay for it.

A variety of gatekeepers have made a third choice:
to open their content freely into the Internet.
These are their storie
s.

August 17, 2006

MathWorld
Free resource from Wolfram Research

MathWorld logo

math starIn its "about" section, MathWorld describes itself as follows:

MathWorldTM is the web's most extensive mathematical resource, provided as a free service to the world's mathematics and internet communities as part of a commitment to education and educational outreach by Wolfram Research, makers of Mathematica.

MathWorld has been assembled over more than a decade by Eric W. Weisstein with assistance from thousands of contributors. Since its contents first appeared online in 1995, MathWorld has emerged as a nexus of mathematical information in both the mathematics and educational communities. It not only reaches millions of readers from all continents of the globe, but also serves as a clearinghouse for new mathematical discoveries that are routinely contributed by researchers. Its entries are extensively referenced in journals and books spanning all educational levels, including those read by researchers, elementary school students and teachers, engineers, and hobbyists.

MathWorld, in addition to being an excellent place to learn math and/or check information about math, the website is a showcase for the Wolfram software called Mathematica. The "about" page says on that subject:

The technology behind MathWorld is heavily based on Mathematica. In addition to being indispensable in the derivation, validation, and visualization of MathWorld's content, Mathematica is used to build the website itself, taking advantage of its advanced mathematical typesetting and data-processing capabilities.

MathWorld's role as a showcase for a math product forces the website to meet the highest possible standard of quality for its subject. It would not do for there to be sloppy math in the content offered to the public. Bad content would reflect on the product being showcased. Conversely, because MathWorld is very attractive and accurate to a fault, it is likely to be an asset to the product Mathematic. Wolfram is winning good will and customers while its users are profiting from quality open educational resources.