Encyclopedia of Life

1.8 million known (identified and named) species are to form part of the Encyclopedia of Life. Key components of this massive online resource are to become available to the general public sometime in 2008. That is, freely available to anyone who has access to the internet.

The Encyclopedia of Life has been described as a “mash-up” and using the same search engine as Google to seek out scientific material on the internet to be reviewed by expert curators. Initial potential contributors have been listed, and some institutions have offered to digitise their print collections, for example, the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL).

The web site was launched Thursday 10 May 2007. Demonstration pages include expert views of Amanita phalliodes (Death Cap Mushroom), Oryza sativa (Rice), Kiwa hirsuta (Yeti crab), and novice and expert views of the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) including the original description scanned from the BHL.

The FAQs describe the main goals of the expected 10 year project, audiences, and contributors. The FAQs answered one question that I had, that is, What about Wikipedia?

I have read that the public may contribute to the Encyclopedia of Life, but initially this is simply to comment and register your interest in the project.

“The democracy of science can’t be overemphasized.” — Cristian Samper, Smithsonian Institution.

Source: eSchool News.

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