The future: ESCO – The International Encyclopaedia of Systems and Cybernet …

IFSR Newsletter 2004 Vol. 22 No. 1 October
ESCO: The International Encyclopaedia of Systems and Cybernetics goes online
The long awaited second edition of Charles François’ great International Encyclopaedia of Systems and Cybernetics has been published in two volumes in August 2004 by Saur Verlag, Munich. Charles had announced that this is his last edition. He appointed Günther Ossimitz to continue his work – based on 21st century technology and hosted by IFSR.
ESCO – the Encyclopaedia of Systems and Cybernetics Online is about to start as an electronic complement to the second printed edition of the Encyclopaedia. Technically it is based on Mediawiki technology ( – a great open source tool which is also used for Wikipedia – the free online Encyclopedia ( All new and updated articles will be put at ESCO – thus making ESCO an online-companion of the printed Encyclopaedia. This work has already started at Other than the International Encyclopaedia – which was collected almost exclusively by Charles François alone, ESCO is designed to be the product of a collaborative effort of a team of contributors. The main contributors of ESCO are designated to form the future editorial board of ESC after retirement of Charles François. A Scientific Committee of the IFSR will oversee the whole work of ESCO.
How is ESCO related to the printed Encyclopaedia?
Concerning the scientific rigorosity and interdisciplinarity in the scope of systems sciences ESCO is dedicated to the high standards of founding editor Charles François. It is not affiliated with or sponsored by the publisher of printed Encyclopaedia, K.G. Saur. Yet the promotion of printed Encyclopaedia is an important aspect of ESCO – thus helping to make further printed editions of the Encyclopaedia commercially feasible. ESCO will be based on the keywords, links and registers of the printed Second Edition. Updates of articles will be based on the version given in the Encyclopaedia.
Which Expansions are planned?
ESCO will introduce new types of material, which extends ESC. Major features will be:

  • Basic Articles: Overviews and introductions to special systems fields; written by international experts in the field.
  • Biographies of important Systemists (like William Ross Ashby, Bela A. Banathy, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Jay Forrester, Paul Watzlawick, Norbert Wiener)
  • Reviews of important Systems Books
  • Information about Systems Communities: Reports about Systems Societies, Conferences, Journals, Web Resources
  • The next Generation“: Contributions of young systems specialists
  • Directory of Systems Scientists: short webpage, can be auto-created by specifications of scientist via web-form; offering systems expertise.
  • Systems Bibliography (affiliated – using some bibliographical database system)
  • Systems Newsletter: regular information medium about ESCO and related topics.

What are the long-term perspectives of ESCO?
ESCO is designed in the long term to become a virtual community of people interested in systems issues. The Online Encyclopaedia should serve as a core information basis for this community. Thus ESCO might become an acronym for “Encyclopaedically interested Systems Community Online”. Of course the Online Encyclopaedia should act as a database for any future printed edition of the International Encyclopaedia of Systems and Cybernetics. ESCO is designed to be used for free as an online information resource for everyone: Experts, students, businessmen, journalists and the interested “general public”.
Partners of ESCO
ESCO is designed to operate in a network of partnerships, offering mutual advantages to all participants. Main Partners will be:

  • IFSR with all Member-Societies
  • K.G. Saur
  • University of Klagenfurt as a host for the web-material
  • Bertalanffy Society of Studies of Systems and Cybernetics

Join the Team!
ESCO is in search for any systems experts which are willing to share their expertise via our online Encyclopaedia. ESCO-Contributors have the privilege to edit articles of the printed Encyclopaedia and to add new articles which are not yet found in the second edition of the International Encyclopaedia of Systems and Cybernetics.
For further Information contact:
Guenther Ossimitz
University of Klagenfurt
or go directly to

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