Encyclopedia of Life
During the recent decades some of the world’s leading biologists have harbored a conceptual vision of a single comprehensive digital catalog of the Earth’s 1.8 million living species. The nascent stages of this catalog were unveiled in early 2008 when the Encyclopedia of Life (www.eol.org) made its online debut. It’s designed to be a flexible educational tool that will satisfy the information needs of the grammar school student and the university scholar alike.
At the moment there are 30,000 species pages of flora and fauna. These pages contain information about each species’ morphology, genetics, habitat, behavior and much more including color photographs and links to peer-reviewed articles and other associated websites and databases. All information contained within the EOL is authenticated by scholars within the scientific community. Their goal is to create one million species pages within the catalog during the next five years and to digitize a large portion of the available scholarly literature on biodiversity.
In an effort to build this catalog, the EOL is reaching out beyond academia to the general public. The EOL staff is inviting you to upload your best digital photos and videos to the EOL Flickr group site (www.flickr.com/groups/encyclopedia_of_life). So far over 24,000 photos and several hundred videos of a wide variety of species have been submitted by the general public. This is your chance to help build the EOL’s library of digital images with photos taken on your last trek through the Costa Rican rainforest or from your most recent stroll through a nearby state park. Also check out the website’s EOL Blog to stay up to date on the progress of this unique digital catalog.
Guest writer: Steve Fithian. Steve is a reference librarian here at Otis Library; recently finished with Library School.