In early discussions at the Gordon Conference on Exocrine Secretion that led to the development of The Pancreapedia we considered it to be an Electronic Reference Source or Knowledge Base. The title of Encyclopedia seemed a little old fashioned and Wikipedia or Wiki implies unreviewed material and unfettered access to a site. Because we are all about the Pancreas at some point “Pancreapedia” rolled off someone’s tongue and all present were struck by the catchy nature of the name. We felt it also encompassed what we wished to develop and indicated a community based approach to our field.
Later, it was pointed out that we should come to grips with the etymological aspects of our name. Pancreas comes from the Greek and is translated as “all flesh”. Clearly, the ancient Greeks were familiar with its appearance and one early thought on its function was that it formed a cushion for the stomach. “Pedia” comes from Encyclopedia which is also derived from the Greek and translates as “circle of learning”. The first general encyclopedia in English was John Harris’s Lexicon Technicum published by the Royal Society in 1704. In the late 20th century encyclopedias began to be published on CDs or on the World Wide Web. The Wikipedia is a free content electronic encyclopedia based on an open editing model. It began in 2001 and is written collaboratively by a large number of anonymous volunteers. The term “Wiki” is used to mean a technology for creating collaborative websites and comes from a Hawaiian word meaning “quick”.
The Pancreapedia is designed to be encyclopedic as pertains to the Exocrine Pancreas. It is not a true wiki as its content is written by named experts, is peer reviewed and is not directly editable by the community. However we have incorporated the ability of all users to add comments that can be used for future versions of entries. We are also borrowing in several ways from Facebook and other social networking sites and have adopted the concept of Molecule Pages from several sites. However, in total The Pancreapedia is unique and will serve both our field and as a new publishing model.
We hope this discussion will help you understand the origin of our name. If we were true Greeks it might have turned out as “Pancreatopedia” or “Pancreaspedia” but they just doesn’t have the lyrical qualities of Pancreapedia. Perhaps someday someone will write a song about us.