The encyclopedia project was essentially a “wiki” before a Wikimedia project was even thought of and created way back in the day. Originally the encyclopedia was started in the early part of the year 2000. As such it has had many homes since that time with all of them being mostly popular Jurassic fan sites like, InGenNET, JPDatabase, and lastly on JPLegacy before it became its own entity. The Jurassic Encyclopedia, or Jurassic-Pedia, is the organization of information and collected knowledge from the Jurassic media franchises spanning across multiple books, films, comics, games, and etc., ever produced.
The original goal of this project was to determine the state(s) of the canon and resolve contradictions through empirical means by relying on multiple forms of evidence ranging from the traditional to background evidence or what we called “hidden details” (read: Indirect evidence or things shown and not said directly via props) placed in the films with inferences and anecdotes from the powers that be behind the franchise, such as: Crichton, NBC Universal, Spielberg, Trevorrow, and so forth.
We are also relying on the connections that were made to the original source material of the novels and transferred to the film universe as the science is mostly relatively the same minus some key differences. Everything else is segregated per Crichton’s vision of seeing them all as “separate media” in comparison to his books.
Before we realized Crichton made the case for everything being separate media we realized that many contradictory elements existed and even some major continuity issues were discovered that warranted there was a clear need for the separation of media into their respective canons. Those being book, film, comics, and etc. Eventually cemented we took the approach of impartiality to the separation of media based on comments made by Michael Crichton himself in Beyond Jurassic Park bonus disc regarding the Jurassic Park Phenomenon and the impact on popular culture.
Another angle here is that we will also incorporate factual elements of paleontology or otherwise popular misconceptions found in the history of paleontology from the time InGen would theoretically be working on cloning their dinosaurs. Examples would be Spinosaurus not being accounted for on their produced animals list due to the fact it was regarded as having a carnosaur-type head and in relation to dinosaurs like Allosaurus and Acrocanthosaurus before a lot of Stromer’s notes and data was rediscovered. Focus will always be given priority to what the canons for the particular form of the media says first and foremost though if there is something to conflict it.
Jurassic series is sometimes viewed as creating “stupid science” to get young children interested into science through dinosaurs. Kids do love stating facts like Tyrannosaurus‘ vision being based on movement as a credit to the films, if even its not necessarily true in our reality or even in the original novel(s) itself. What’s not known is that this movement based vision symptom for the Tyrannosaurs was more or less a symptom of the frog DNA used in the cloning process in the novels, come the second novel Crichton informs the reader they had been misinformed as the T.rex family in it wreaks havoc. That said, the translation comes played off without the genetic interference and modification quality it was originally given. Thus creating an element of popular culture with kids stating the dinosaur’s vision was based on movement when we simply don’t know. Not knowing is fine, so we need to focus on the aim of wanting to find out.
Our other aim is to provide technical commentary where applicable from bits of history from paleontology. We do this by pointing out historic evidence from paleontology and what we know from the field of study to help reconcile some of the perceived flubs within the franchise. A similar idea was also presented in the Jurassic Park Institute: Dinosaur Field Guide originally some time ago back in 2001 when the third film came out. The book highlighted these key differences between the factual animals from our world and the fictional animals from Jurassic Park. This information is noted where appropriated, and further reading on this subject can be found here and is ultimately why we created species names for a lot of the animals instead of calling them “brown Raptor”, “purple/blue Raptor”, “Version 1”, “Version 2”, or something equally goofy like that. Calling the animals “version 1” or “version 2” is problematic because we don’t exactly know InGen’s numbering system when re-creating said animals.
That said, it helps to have a bit of background information on what canon means in this case. Broadly, “canon” is the basis for judgment for a standard or criterion; in this case, it applies to the various mediums which the Jurassic franchise has touched upon. It is true, in the initial stages of this project we looked at the idea of a layered canon with including everything while having the films take priority over contradictions, but this not only made matters heavily inconsistent with everything but it required the use of “fanon” reconcile the differences. Fanon is basically known as “fan wank” in various circles or head canons, which, broadly is: Unsupported facts and idle speculation that anyone can make up on the fly. The separation of media was fully supported by the father of the Jurassic Park franchise, Michael Crichton himself. You can read more about continuity separation here in terms of how we outlined things.
Occasionally the question arises; “Why not use a wiki for the purposes of this project?” The truth is that we simply prefer taking our own approach with different software which is easier to manipulate and better to secure from those that try to tout fanon as the end all and be all. The nature of a wiki means that almost anyone has the ability to change or alter facts on a whim. While not bad in theory if everyone follows a protocol, but vandalism does and can occur on the articles on wiki that result in corrupted restores of the original content of the article for those that were following protocol. Some people just opt to destroy nice things created for others and this system allows us to make sure it stays nice. We’d much prefer a secure control over who and what kind of stuff comes into the encyclopedia. We interview people and talk with them, make an effort to get to know them and see if they are a good fit for the project. So the use of the WordPress system allows us to more or less protect the entries from such issues and calamities. We acknowledge that objectivity is important in any research protocol, and that is no different here. This encyclopedia’s goal is to maintain, through controlled access, impartiality, empirical means, and objectivity, free of what individuals want the Jurassic franchise to be rather than what it actually is that we transcribe into the system here.
In the end our hope is that The Jurassic Encyclopedia serves as a large research tool for the curious soul, the aficionado’s obsessed with detail, the aspiring fan-fiction writer, the fan-film director, and even for game modifiers looking to understand the franchise and the implications it has on our world to this day. That said, we dedicate this work to those who, much like we, are simply detail-obsessed with Jurassic films, novels, comics, and more.