In a nutshell: Archiopedia is a project of investigative encyclopedism.
Archiopedia is both an encyclopedia and a collection of digital archives. It is thus a tribute to both the Western spirit of encyclopedism and the Eastern culture of sylloge.
The Archiopedists aim at producing periodically updated, concise and thought-provoking entries, based on original research and direct engagement with primary sources as well as secondary literature. At the same time, they try to digitize sources not yet available online and store born-digital materials on a variety of topics.
We support a three-fold agenda:
1) overcoming the current fragmentation of knowledge by reforging a universal approach through interdisciplinarity,
2) creating a common scientific language by minimizing the academic jargon and enriching the vernacular,
3) helping civic action by endorsing an ethos of scientifically informed political engagement.
Archiopedia aims at developing a mutualisitic – or at least commensalistic– relationship with other online encyclopedias (and especially Wikipedia). Our goal is not to replace or fork these enterprises; we simply strive to offer what these projects cannot provide.
The term “archiopedia” blends the Latin archium (“archive”) and the suffix –pedia, both traced back to Ancient Greek ἄρχω (árkhō, “begin, lead, rule”) and παιδεία (paideíā, “education”). Ἀρχή (arkhè) and its derivatives capture the common root of action and thought.
And since “there is no history without archives [...] there is no administration without archives [...] there is no republic without archives”, we the Archiopedists are burning with an “archive fever”; we are afflicted with a “febrile indolence – a typical affliction of those enamoured of libraries, documents, reference works, dusty tomes, texts that are never read, books that are no sooner printed than they are consigned to the shelves of libraries where they thereafter lie dormant to be taken up only some centuries later”.
In our quest for relief, we remember Jefferson’s words: “I know it is often said there have been shining examples of men of great abilities in all the businesses of life, without any other science than what they had gathered from conversations, and intercourse with the world. but who can say what these men would not have been had they started in science on the shoulders of a Demosthenes or Cicero, of a Locke, a Bacon, or a Newton?”.
Indeed, Newton had himself acknowledged that he was “standing on ye sholders of Giants”. But it’s not just him. Didn’t Copernicus knowingly revived the heliocentric model of Aristarchus? Would Tocqueville’s major breakthroughs concerning the nature of the French Revolution be ever possible without Grandmaison’s help? Could anyone have been able to read Das Kapital if Marx had been thrown out of the British Museum? Didn’t Darwin saw “the principle of natural selection shadowed forth” in a fragment of Aristotle?
Einstein was quite right in pointing out that “a knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of [our] generation from which most scientists are suffering”.
This is why we follow Machiavelli’s example, and we “enter [our] study; and at the door [we] take off the day's clothing, covered with mud and dust, and put on garments regal and courtly; and reclothed appropriately, [we] enter the ancient courts of ancient men, where, received by them with affection, [we] feed on that food which only is [ours] and which [we were] born for, where [we are] not ashamed to speak with them and to ask them the reason for their actions; and they in their kindness answer [us]; and for [some] hours of time [we] do not feel boredom, [we] forget every trouble, [we] do not dread poverty, [we] are not frightened by death; entirely [we] give [ourselves] over to them”.
At the end of the day, we rejoice in our “malady of history”. We believe that “[...] the answers of science will always remain replies to questions asked by men” and that, for example, natural science “is no less a man-centered inquiry into what is than historical research”. Too long have we been haunted by the schism between the “two cultures”. There is no “hard” and “soft” sciences; there are only scientists who need to soften the uncriticalness of their axioms and humanists who have to harden the logical consistency of their conclusions.
Many years ago, a web colossus that we all hate to love launched an encyclopedic project, composed of “knols”, i.e. “units of knowledge”; the Archiopedists prefer to view their contributions less than “knols” and more as “thots”, that is “starting points [arkhai...] for thinking”.
In the course of provoking your thought, we can only admit the arbitrariness of our own starting points, dive into the available sources and hone our logical prowess.
Publisher of Archiopedia
 Guy Braibant, Les Archives en France: rapport au Premier ministre, La Documentation française, Paris, 1996, p. 9.
 Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1996.
 Michel Foucault, Two Lectures, in Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977, Pantheon Books, New York, 1980, p. 79.
 Thomas Jefferson to John Brazer, 24 August 1819, in J. Jefferson Looney (ed.), The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 14, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2017, p. 630.
 Isaac Newton to Robert Hooke, 5 February 1675/6, in H. W. Turnbull (ed.), The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1959, p. 416.
 Jerzy Dobrzycki / Edward Rosen (trans. and comment.), Nicholas Copernicus On the Revolutions, vol. 2, London & Basingstoke, 1978, p. 25 l. 21 and the note in pp. 360-361.
 Jon Elster (ed.), Tocqueville: The Ancien Régime and the French Revolution, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge & New York, 2011, p. 3.
 British Library, Marx: reader at the British Library, 1873.
 Charles Darwin, An Historical Sketch of the Recent Progress of Opinion on the Origin of Species, in On the Origin of Species, 4th ed., John Murray, London, 1866, p. xiii.
 Albert Einstein to Robert Thornton, 7 December 1944, in Albert Einstein Archives n. 61-574.
 Niccolò Machiavelli to Francesco Vettori, 10 December 1513, in Allan Gilbert (ed. and trans.), The Letters of Machiavelli: A Selection, University of Chicago Press, 1961, p. 142.
 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Use and Abuse of History, in Oscar Levy (ed.), The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, vol. 5, George Allen & Unwin, 1909, London, p. 95.
 Hannah Arendt, The Concept of History: Ancient and Modern, in Between Past and Future: Six Exercises in Political Thought, Viking Press, New York, 1961, p. 49.
 C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge & New York, 1998.