|Type of site||Online database of Austrian culture|
|Available in||(German) (English)|
|Owner||Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur (BMBWK) (Austria Ministry for Education, Science and Culture)|
|Created by||Elisabeth Wetsch (web design)|
The AEIOU project was launched in 1996 by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research as part of Austria's millennial celebrations. The first mention of the name Ostarrîchi, or Austria was in the year 996. The content was based on the German-language Österreich-Lexikon, first published in a printed version in 1995. Additional material was acquired, including more images and also audio and video files, and AEIOU soon grew into a multimedia information system.
The title AEIOU —the "Annotatable Electronic Interactive Oesterreich Universal Information System"— is an allusion to the old Habsburg motto, A.E.I.O.U.. Suggestions for the improvements to articles can be made by reader; however, the aeiou Encyclopedia is not a wiki.
With an ever-increasing number of Austrian classrooms having Internet access, the encyclopedia is today widely used by Austrian students at both high school and university levels and, generally, by people all over the world interested in Austria's history and culture. In the spring of 2005, Ministry headed by Elisabeth Gehrer decided, for pecuniary reasons, to shut down Internet access to the encyclopedia effective April 1. After strong protest the Ministry reversed its previous decision, and access was restored. There have been recent talks and negotiations on how in the future the encyclopedia could be regularly updated.