This chapter reviews previous works and comment on the historical perspective of user participation before the era of the World Wide Web. It introduces user participation as a new field of metalexicographic research, and presents a unified framework covering the three major types of user participation methods, ranging from newly creating entire articles and giving feedback and correcting errors to discussing language- or subject-related questions beyond the actual lexicographic descriptions. The compilation of dictionaries and encyclopaedias has traditionally been the profession of a single expert or small groups of professional lexicographers and subject specialists. The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, initiated reading programmes already in the nineteenth century, in which they asked volunteers to read books and submit evidence for a word's usage in a specific format. In open-collaborative and semi-collaborative products, user contributions are the backbone of the lexicographic database, as little to no professional lexicographers are involved.