Great Norwegian Encyclopedia


The Great Norwegian Encyclopedia, in Norwegian Store norske leksikon (abbreviated as 'SNL'), is an edited, online encyclopedia. The encyclopedia contains a collection of approximately 180 000 articles, some of which have a history of revision going back to encyclopedic work published in 1906. From 2009 the Great Norwegian Encyclopedia is solely published online on

The Great Norwegian Encyclopedia is published by Foreningen Store norske leksikon (the Great Norwegian Encyclopedia Association). All the Norwegian universities and several other non profit foundations/organizations are members of the association. The association is non profit and non commercial (registered in the official Norwegian non-profit registry, Frivillighetsregisteret).

The editor-in-chief is Erik Bolstad. The director of the board is Knut Olav Åmås.

The Great Norwegian Encyclopedia has up to three million monthly unique visitors (Norway has five million inhabitants). We are the second largest non-profit editorial Norwegian website. The main users are high school and university students, but we attract users from all age ranges and demographic groups.

We publish four encyclopedias, all searchable from

  • Store norske leksikon – the Great Norwegian Encyclopedia. Our main encyclopedia with around 160 000 articles.
  • Store medisinske leksikon – The Great Medical Encyclopedia. A Norwegian language medical reference encyclopedia with around 15 000 articles.
  • Norsk biografisk leksikon – The Norwegian Biographical Encyclopedia.
  • Norsk kunstnerleksikon – The Encyclopedia of Norwegian Artists

Our model of production

Great Norwegian Encyclopedia strives towards radical transparency. Our aim is to show as many parts of text production as possible to the reading public. Contribution using one's full name is a requirement, and authors are encouraged to supply biographies that present their background and qualifications within a field or topic.

The general public is invited to contribute to the encyclopedia. Every article contains features for suggesting changes, and the authors and editors are expected to answer questions and criticism, and to provide clarifications if so requested.

SNL is an edited work, however. Contributions by the public are never published directly. Before a user’s article suggestion or proposed edit goes online, it has to be assessed by one of the editors. Unlike a traditional encyclopedia model, where everything had to pass through a central editorial board, SNL uses assigned and vetted topic experts (in Norwegian: fagansvarlige), who submit content directly onto the web page, with editors reviewing submissions post factum.

Combining an emphasis on interaction with the public with the requirement on signed content, the experts who contribute to the encyclopedia are made responsible for the work they produce. This sets SNL apart from traditional general knowledge encyclopedias, where the majority of articles are unsigned, and direct interaction with the authors was all but impossible.