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It was the Reg what won it: Online Hitchhiker's Guide thriving

Douglas Adams' vision h2g2 still needs contributors

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A cheering tale of triumph over adversity reached Vulture Central this week to warm the heart of even the frostiest soul.

The online encyclopaedia h2g2 - after the famous Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy books - launched by author Douglas Adams in 1999 has survived its amputation from the BBC and is doing well. The Beeb cut the website loose in 2011 as part of its massive cull of web properties.

We learned two years ago that h2g2 was in trouble and needed urgent cash donations to save the site from being demolished by the bureaucratic poetry-fancying Vogons of the BBC in hard hats driving huge space diggers (probably).

The Register assembled a crack team [er, that was you, right? - Ed] to expose the imminent extinction of the site and to urge readers to get involved and rescue it. The h2g2 team very kindly tell us that the magnificent efforts of Reg readers were key to the site's survival in those dark days.

Now, more than two years since that fight was won, h2g2 - which is run by Not Panicking Ltd - is celebrating its fourteenth birthday today. A new version of the site, we're told, is coming soon. There'll be an app, too.

The company was formed by Lycos Chat owners Alyson and Brian Larholm and Douglas' long-time buddy Robbie Stamp.

Douglas, who wrote the The Hitchhiker's Guide novels and many other things, sadly died suddenly of a heart attack in 2001. With h2g2 he had hoped to build a guide to Life, The Universe and Everything. Eventually.

That noble quest continues with an online community that is pleasingly thriving. h2g2 boosts 10,000 peer reviewed entries on everything from the HP sauce story to how to cope with a tomato ketchup shortage. Your correspondent would like to request at this point that the editors approve an entry about pan yan pickle ... but she digresses.

The website is a bloody good online encyclopedia and it wants to stick around long enough to celebrate being 42 - which is of course the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

The site itself helps fund The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Foundation - which was established by members of the writer's family to support literacy around the world.

h2g2 is seeking contributors to wade in and work on the Guide - especially keen writers, illustrators and photographers. As h2g2 explained:

"It's a great way of getting fully attributed work in front of a global audience, and it's helping to keep the startling vision of one of the UK's best loved writers alive." ®

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