Started in 2000 and has had many homes since, the Jurassic Park Encyclopedia, or JPE, is the organization of information from the Jurassic Park novels, films, comic books, and other mediums in the Jurassic Park franchise. The original goal of this project was to separate canon, through empirical means, to the film series from other Jurassic Park canons, and what could exist simultaneously with it. The project wasn’t about dictating what was canon, but identifying a consciousness for the canon.The encyclopedia was essentially the Jurassic Park Wiki before a Wikimedia project was even thought of ironically. It was realized later, after lists of species in the various mediums and major continuity issues were discovered, that there was a clear need for impartiality and a separation of “media” based on comments made by Michael Crichton in Beyond Jurassic Park regarding the Jurassic Park phenomenon.
Jurassic Park is sometimes viewed as creating “stupid science” in regards to young children, who stating facts like Tyrannosaurus‘ vision being based on movement. In reality this was more or less a symptom of the cloning process. Our aim, in addition to defining what is and is not canon for all Jurassic Park media, is to point out what is scientific fact and help reconcile flubs within the franchise. A similar idea was also presented in the Jurassic Park Institute: Dinosaur Field Guide some time ago, which 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.
It helps to have a bit of background information on what is clearly canon in the Jurassic Park universe. Broadly, “canon” is the basis for judgment for a standard or criterion; in this case, it applies to the various mediums which the Jurassic Park franchise has touched upon, ranging from novels to films to comic books and so on. In the initial stages of this project we looked at the idea of a layered canon, but this only made the numerous canons inconsistent with one another and required us to reconcile the differences with “fanon,” unsupported facts and speculation. That’s not to say that the idea is not reconsidered every so often, but 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.
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. In addition to the ease of use that comes with this WordPress system, many of us are not fans of community-driven wiki-groups which sometimes develop elitist behavior. The nature of a wiki also means that almost anyone has the ability to change or alter facts on a whim. We would like to maintain controlled access over the encyclopedia in order to avoid vandalism, nit-pick edits, and the potential of the site’s presentation of false information in articles on WikiProjects in general. Oftentimes, WikiProjects can introduce unwanted information within multiple edits which can easily masquerade as facts. Because of this, WordPress satisfies our needs more efficiently. Further, our objective with the Jurassic Park Encyclopedia is impartiality and to be free of personal bias in the work presented on this site. 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 and objectivity, free of what individuals want the Jurassic Park franchise to be rather than what it is. When a clear need to speculate arises in an effort to provoke thought about a subject discussed here (or a concept of “fanon” comes into play) we will, of course, denote it as such in our work.
In the end our hope is that JPLegacy’s Jurassic Park Encyclopedia serves as a large research tool for the curious soul, the aspiring fan-fiction writer, the fan-film director looking for information for the stories they wish to tell, and even for game modifiers doing much the same with their respective stories. We also dedicate this work to those who, much like we, are simply dedicated to the Jurassic Park films, novels, and more. If you feel that you can contribute in some way don’t be afraid to apply here for a role in the encyclopedia. Do keep in mind though that we are looking for people who are willing to take on the serious commitment to this mission.