Saturday, May 19, 2007

"The Encyclopedia of Life"

There is a new web resource just starting up called The Encyclopedia of Life. It is an ambitious undertaking by scientists to post pages on every form of life discovered. The press release says:
Many of the world’s leading scientific institutions today announced the launch of the Encyclopedia of Life, an unprecedented global effort to document all 1.8 million named species of animals, plants, and other forms of life on Earth. For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens will have multi-media access to all known living species, even those that have just been discovered.

The press release is a fairly long article and you can read all of it on the link provided above. Very interesting. Another paragraph states:
Over the next 10 years, the Encyclopedia of Life will create Internet pages for all 1.8 million species currently named. It will expedite the classification of the millions of species yet to be discovered and catalogued as well. The pages, housed at, will provide written information and, when available, photographs, video, sound, location maps, and other multimedia information on each species. Built on the scientific integrity of thousands of experts around the globe, the Encyclopedia will be a moderated wiki-style environment, freely available to all users everywhere.
Demonstration pages are available here. FAQs are here and answer a lot of questions you may have about this project. You can register here and get email updates. I'm going to do that because this looks fascinating. It will be a long-term project, obviously, but a very interesting one. I read a note about it somewhere (I'm sorry I can't remember where.), but I think it will be something we can all enjoy and benefit from.

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