This article outlines a new approach to data access in electronic encyclopaedias. Contrary to most of the existing research, which treats access as a lexicographer-dominated, structural concept, access is viewed here as a process which is essentially user-driven. The role of the lexicographer is to facilitate this process, so that it can become rapid and unimpeded, but their control of it should be reduced to a minimum. This can only be achieved if access to data is adjusted to the specific type of need for information. Accordingly, the article examines three forms of data access applicable in situations in which the user experiences the need for a finite, specific amount of information. The results of the examination confirm that access to data is indeed a process
whose success depends on the interaction between the user, the data, and the type of need for information which the given reference work aims to satisfy.
Keywords: Encyclopaedia, Electronic Lexicography, Access, Structure, Access Route, Simple Information Need, Complex Information Need, Knowledge Acquisition