Unveils Web’s Premier Reference Library

Internet Publisher Combines Most Comprehensive Modern Reference Collection with Best Classic Reference Works

New York — March 20, 2000, the first name in Internet publishing of reference, verse and classic literature, today unveiled the Internet’s premier reference web site, offering free, searchable access to the world’s most complete family of online reference works. The site provides web-based access to such world-class works as the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, published by Columbia University Press and The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition; Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition; Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations; and The American Heritage® Book of English Usage, published by Houghton Mifflin Company.   1
  When combined with the web site’s existing reference works, including Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, Strunk’s Elements of Style, Fowler’s the King’s English, Second Edition, Emily Post’s Etiquette, the Cambridge History of English and American Literature and Fannie Farmer’s Cook Book, today’s announcement establishes as the most comprehensive public web reference site. published 200,000 full-text searchable pages of reference, verse and classic literature—all accessible 24 hours per day, at no charge.   2 also unveiled a complete web site redesign. With a new user interface, provides fast and accurate access to a vast array of information, including material not available anywhere else—in print or on the web. Visitors to can access informative summaries of each book, as well as concise biographies, complete with pictures, of each author featured in the online library. Enhanced navigational tools and extensive cross-referencing between works make it easy for users to locate specific passages and references. Also new is the “Bartleby Weekly” feature, providing a weekly update of new content additions, and the Bartleby Bookstore, linking e-commerce to the site by providing a convenient market for users to purchase books and related materials.   3
  “ makes publishing history today,” said Steven van Leeuwen, publisher and founder of “As the only publisher combining the best of both contemporary and classic reference works, we have created the most comprehensive public reference library ever published on the web—a collection that will grow massively in the coming months.”   4
  “ has designed an impressive web site that allows users to easily access, search and categorize an extensive collection of classic literature, reference and nonfiction material. Every knowledge-seeking person should visit this site,” said John McCormick of, a market research firm that caters primarily to institutional investors.   5
New Reference Works

Columbia Encyclopedia
With its previous edition described by Scientific American as “without peer in the English language,” and heralded by the New York Times Book Review as “the standard of excellence as a guide to essential facts,” the Columbia Encyclopedia has always been the bar by which other reference works are judged. Now, with’s publication of the new Sixth Edition, it is also the most up-to-date encyclopedia available anywhere. With over 50,000 article entries, 40,000 bibliographic citations, and over 80,000 cross-reference entries, it is also one of the most comprehensive encyclopedias available. All of these articles are fully searchable, allowing students and readers of all kinds to locate specific information in seconds.   6
  “ is an outstanding partner for bringing the Columbia Encyclopedia to the Internet,” said Clare Wellnitz, Director of Subsidiary Rights for Columbia University Press. “With 24-hour, free online access to the complete, unabridged encyclopedia, delivers an invaluable service for any student, researcher or family looking for fast and easy access to essential and interesting facts.”   7

Other New Reference Works also released The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, filled with over 350,000 entries and meanings—more than 16,000 of them new. Word definitions are further enhanced by over 34,000 examples of use, more than 500 usage notes and a newly revised Appendix of Indo-European roots. Called by “the chosen reference of editors,” The American Heritage® Dictionary “is more than a mere tool of the trade—it’s a luxurious linguistic experience.” The Usage Panel, a group of over 170 editors, writers and public speakers, contributed its opinions on usage to The American Heritage® Dictionary.   8
  Complementing the Columbia Encyclopedia and American Heritage® Dictionary are Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, providing over 35,000 synonyms; Simpson’s Quotations, highlighting the great quotes from 1950 to 1988 and providing about 10,000 quotes from nearly 4000 sources; and The American Heritage® Book of English Usage, the preeminent guide to the proper use of grammar, style, diction and word formation, and even e-mail etiquette.   9
  David Jost, Vice President and Director of Electronic Reference Publishing of the Trade and Reference Division of Houghton Mifflin Company, says “Houghton Mifflin is proud to partner with to bring these essential reference works online as part of’s comprehensive reference collection.”   10

Practical Details
The site is live today, at All reference materials are available 24-hours/day at no charge.   11

Headquartered in New York City, began publishing on the web in 1994. Now a leading innovator in the field of electronic publishing, has been widely cited as one of the best reference sites on the web, having published among other works, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, Strunk’s Elements of Style and six classic poetry anthologies, including the Oxford Book of English Verse. Post’s Etiquette, which the company added to its site in December 1999, enables readers to jump from over 1,500 alphabetic subject entries to the most relevant of the 2,600 paragraphs in the book. Most recently, published the Cambridge History of English and American Literature: An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes, considered a landmark of English and American letters.   12
  Named after the humble character of Melville’s classic Bartleby, the Scrivener, provides millions of students, educators and the intellectually curious with unparalleled access to classics and reference books online. began as a personal research experiment in 1993 and within one year published its first classic book on the web, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Since then,’s ever-expanding list of renowned classics makes it the preeminent electronic publishing enterprise on the web.   13
For information contact:      
Steven van Leeuwen,      

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