The h2g2 Tour - Reading the Guide

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Introduction | Reading | Talking | Contributing | Registering | Personal Space | Find Out More
Introduction | Reading | Talking | Contributing | Registering | Personal Space | Find Out More
Introduction to the Guide

PLEASE NOTE: This page is now out of date and had been replaced. For up-to-date information please see the latest h2g2 FAQs.

Welcome to h2g2! This tour looks at different parts of the site and includes advice on how you can get involved. The tour has seven parts including this one - you can use the links bar above to find your way through them.

We'll kick off with the answer to the most important question of all: What is h2g2?

What is h2g2?

h2g2 stands for 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' - an unconventional guide to Life, The Universe and Everything. This site - the Earth Edition of the Guide - is an encyclopaedic project contributed to by people from all over the world. was launched in April 1999, and the BBC took over the running of the site in February 2001 as part of a drive to develop new and innovative online services.

Anyone can write for the Guide, which already has thousands of entries on all sorts of subjects. Meaningful collaboration is encouraged and users help one another, feeding back on what others have written using a peer review system. The result is a living, breathing guide that's constantly being updated and revised, driven forward by the very people who use it.

h2g2's inspiration comes from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the best-selling book by Douglas Adams, one of the original founders of the site. Back in 1971, Douglas lay drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria, thinking about the galaxy and how you might find your way around it. His solution, the 'Guide', was an ingenious device that offered advice about almost any place, object, entity or event you might care to name - all at the convenience of your fingertips. This vision is now approaching reality, both on the Internet and on mobile phones, in the form of h2g2.

Reading the Guide

Reading the h2g2 Guide is a fantastic experience: nowhere else on the Internet will you find such a huge array of subjects covered in such a variety of ways. Two particularly important aspects of the Guide are the Edited Guide and the Alternative Guide:

  • The Edited Guide consists of thousands of factual articles that have been carefully peer-reviewed according to our Editorial Guidelines and then edited by volunteers and staff. Edited Entries are intended to entertain, educate and inform, and their style often depends upon the individual writer. New Edited Entries appear every weekday on the Front Page.
  • The Alternative Guide is the place for everything else - poetry, prose, fiction, flights of fancy... The UnderGuide has room for all things interesting and quirky that wouldn't really fit into the Edited Guide, and there's also the h2g2 Post, h2g2's fortnightly magazine packed with columns, articles, cartoons, poems and fiction.

Here are just a few ways in which you can explore the h2g2 Guide:

  • Latest New Entries - Today's new Edited Entries are listed on the Front Page along with a variety of other things that might interest you.

  • Search the Guide - you can use the Search h2g2 box at the top of the page to search h2g2 in it's entirety, or you use the Advanced Search feature to look for something more specific.

  • Browsing the Guide - We've divided the Edited Guide up into three sections that you can browse through: Life, The Universe and Everything.

A Quick Introduction to the Edited Guide

There's a whole page dedicated to the art of Reading the Guide, but to save you clicking, here's a quick taster of some of the gems you can find in the Guide.

Instructive, Informative and Factual EntriesDifferent Writing StylesCanny Observation and Personal PerspectiveReally Thorough EntriesWell-balanced EntriesWell-structured Entries

This page replaces the original at A317477.

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Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

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h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

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"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

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