Educators, students, researchers, and others looking for free online access to reliable information now have another internet research offering at their disposal, one that aims to be a more authoritative alternative to Wikipedia.

It's a lofty ambition--the internet equivalent of the Public Broadcasting Service, its founders say, a user-supported resource that pays top academics to create authoritative maps, articles, and links to third-party content related to virtually any scholarly topic.

But the vast scope of the project hasn't stopped former high-flying Silicon Valley entrepreneur Joe Firmage from building Digital

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