An online encyclopedia about Guam that’s under development right now isn’t just for schoolchildren — businesses on Guam and those looking to invest in Guam will find many uses in it as well.

Guampedia an ongoing project that is already online at is funded by a humanities grant but the uses for the encyclopedia go far beyond that said Editor-in-Chief Nick Goetzfridt who is also a professor of library science and Micronesian studies at the University of Guam.

Guampedia’s goal is to have articles on just about everything about Guam from the historical to the economical along with photos video and audio clips graphs charts and tables. Much of that information will be useful to the business community Goetzfridt said including the economic and commercial development section that will include entries such as the state of Guam’s economy the gross island product human resources and environmental conditions.

“Part of the problem facing us is the lack of accessible data on what is occurring economically on Guam ” he said adding that the data will depend on the government’s ability to produce timely reports. “These statistics could be easily available on Guampedia including reports on tourism and the gross island product.”

He said that “portals” could be designed to gather articles for investors or for tourists and entries could be translated into Japanese or Korean for example. “They can see videos of Hagåtña or Cocos Island along with historical photos and Chamorro music just by clicking on the right entries of that portal ” Goetzfridt said. “The portals would be a part of the much larger whole of Guampedia.”

The U.S. Department of Interior has also expressed interest in linking Guampedia with a list of federal grants available to Guam as well as the status of grant projects already under way. “Guampedia can respond to needs like that ” he said.

Goetzfridt works with Shannon Murphy managing editor of Guampedia along with editors of subject areas such as economics ancient Guam education politics religion sports and more. Guampedia is now soliciting writers for the articles. In March Guampedia was awarded a $300 000 preservation and access grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. That follows a $100 000 Department of Interior grant and a $50 000 NEH grant that helped launch the project and its Web site.

Goetzfridt said Guampedia will help change Guam’s image elsewhere.

“There’s a whole lot of ignorance of Guam in the States ” he said. “It has become almost a place to avoid. The stereotype is that it’s a military base with brown tree snakes — that doesn’t project any kind of attractive picture for anybody.

“The underlying principle is to flesh out everything that is the heritage and culture of Guam and put it all into one place ” he said “that will really tell people on Guam the people in the States and in the world what makes up Guam.”

That’s an ambitious project but one that’s being done elsewhere — in fact Goetzfridt first researched the project by visiting the sites of three ongoing encyclopedia projects including ones in New York and Austin Texas.

He estimated that Guampedia will take about four or five years if things go well with about 1 200 articles in addition to the other media. In the next year or so he and Murphy hope to have about 300 articles online.

“The U.S. Department of Interior and the National Endowment of the Humanities believe in this project ” Goetzfridt said “and now it’s time for us to believe in it as well.” MBJ