Tolkien Gateway – the world’s largest encyclopaedia dedicated to the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien – is celebrating its 10th anniversary today.
Although initially founded at the start of 2003, it was not until the 3rd of June 2005 that it started its life as a Wiki. Since then it has become the second most-popular Tolkien-related website in the world after TheOneRing.net, with over 11,000 articles on Tolkien’s works and “Tolkien-related images, adaptations, people, places, events, societies, and other works of scholarly and academic interest“. It is particularly noted for its wide range of artwork, hosting images by – amongst others – Jenny Dolfen, Anke Eissmann, Fabio Leone, Roger Garland, John Howe, Alan Lee, Jef Murray, Ted Nasmith, and Peter Xavier Price.
However, Tolkien Gateway has in the past been criticised for its reliability and lack of sources, problems which its editors have sought to address in recent years. It has since received praise from Tolkien scholars and fans alike, although many argue that it remains a work in progress. Troels Forchhammer, for instance, noted that Tolkien Gateway is “trying to add thorough references to their articles, but has still a way to go.”
Tolkien Society Chairman, Shaun Gunner, has been involved with the Gateway since the early days and is now an administrator of the website. He said:
When I first got involved nine years ago I didn’t really believe I’d still be there! I also didn’t realise how much work was involved: it seems like we’re further away now from being “complete” than we were back then. What’s happened over the years is we’ve increasingly moved from an amateurish fan-site to an increasingly-professional encyclopaedia; we take referencing and sourcing incredibly seriously, as well as issues of copyright.
I’m proud that Tolkien Gateway now hosts over 9,000 Tolkien-related images on its website and we are able to showcase the artwork of many excellent, but lesser-known, artists. Tolkien Gateway has now established itself as the go-to reference website for the Tolkien community and I hope that more and more members of that community to sign up to further improve the articles.
For more information on Tolkien Gateway and its history, head over to Tolkien Gateway’s article on Tolkien Gateway!
Congratulations to all involved on this milestone!
Daniel is an Officer without Portfolio and Trustee of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2014, he is mainly responsible for the Society’s digital operations, including this website.