The Canadian Encyclopedia has proved that encyclopedias don’t need to go the way of the telegram. From its first print edition in 1985 to CD-ROM and now online, the publisher has provided Canadians with a rarity: their own national encyclopedia in two languages. Its revamped website, developed over seven months by eight staffers at Raised Media, includes a large-scale, custom CMS to improve the workflow of the encyclopedia’s editorial staff. The modern UI features a new logo with that most classic of Canadian icons, the maple leaf. Clear layouts designed for any screen size display museum-like exhibits of Canadian change-makers, such as “Women in Sports” and “Canadian Cinema’s New Generation.” These exhibits are automatically generated by the CMS, allowing writers to craft their own exhibits with built-in animation and smooth transitions. The Learning Centre quizzes Canadians on their trivia, and Your Canada invites users to add their own personal history on an interactive map. As of mid-October 2014, the site had more than 19,000 articles, 8,000 images and 300 videos. The new encyclopedia’s robustness and interactivity has drawn considerably more engagement. Since the redesign, page views have increased from 1.2 to 5 pages per visit, and users’ browse time has increased from eight seconds to five minutes. More than just a history lesson, the Canadian Encyclopedia is an evolving, crowd-sourced display of what it means to be Canadian.
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