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May 3, 2003 - Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller and former U.S. Senator David Pryor will co-chair the board overseeing the creation of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System, is compiling the encyclopedia and made the announcement.
The Encyclopedia will be the definitive source of information on Arkansas' people, places, and past. Other prominent Arkansans have voiced their support for the project, including Governor Mike Huckabee and Congressman Marion Berry. U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, also an active supporter, said, “ I'm excited about the Encyclopedia of Arkansas Project, which promises to bring together all the strands of our state's fascinating history and rich culture into one accessible source of information. This Encyclopedia will be a valuable resource for teachers, students, historians, and all of us who treasure Arkansas' remarkable past."
Arkansas is one of only fifteen states that do not have an encyclopedia, either online or in print. Completing the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture will take about eight years, according to Tom Dillard, curator of the Butler Center and the encyclopedia's editor-in-chief. Plans call for the finished online resource to have over 3,000 text entries, photographs, maps, and audio and video clips. It will cover each county, town, city, region, and historic site in the state. Also included will be biographies of significant Arkansans, accounts of historic events, and entries on such wide-ranging topics as the Civil War and Arkansas folklore.