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The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture (EOA) is a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is the only state encyclopedia in the country to be produced by a library system. The EOA strives to offer a definitive, comprehensive, and accurate record of America’s twenty-fifth state. The mission of this free online encyclopedia is to collect and disseminate information on all aspects of the state’s history and culture and to provide a comprehensive reference work for historians, teachers, students, and others seeking to understand and appreciate Arkansas’s heritage.
The EOA debuted online to the public in May 2006 as a work in progress. At that time, it contained approximately 700 entries and 900 pieces of media; as of 2017, the site offers more than 5,000 entries and more than 6,700 pieces of media. The EOA received the 2009 Diamond Award from the Arkansas Historical Association, and in 2013 the mobile version of the website received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. In 2013, the EOA was named a Notable Government Document of 2012 by the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association.
Users have come from every continent (including Antarctica) and more than 230 countries (including territories and autonomous provinces). During its first month online, the EOA had about 47,000 visits; the EOA now receives more than 1.6 million visits each year.
Major funding for the establishment of the EOA was provided by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Over the years, the EOA has also received funding from the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the Arkansas General Assembly, the Arkansas Humanities Council, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as donations from individuals, foundations, and organizations. CALS has pledged to keep the EOA in operation in perpetuity.