Type of site
|Created by|| Field Museum |
Marine Biological Laboratory
Missouri Botanical Garden
|Launched||February 26, 2008|
The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is a free, online encyclopedia intended to document all of the 1.9 million living species known to science. It is compiled from existing trusted databases curated by experts and with the assistance of non-experts throughout the world. [ citation needed ]It aims to build one "infinitely expandable" page for each species, including video, sound, images, graphics, as well as text. In addition, the Encyclopedia incorporates content from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, which digitizes millions of pages of printed literature from the world's major natural history libraries. The project was initially backed by a US$50 million funding commitment, led by the MacArthur Foundation and the Sloan Foundation, who provided US$20 million and US$5 million, respectively. The additional US$25 million came from five cornerstone institutions—the Field Museum, Harvard University, the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian Institution. The project was initially led by Jim Edwards and the development team by David Patterson. Today, participating institutions and individual donors continue to support EOL through financial contributions.
EOL went live on 26 February 2008 with 30,000 entries.The site immediately proved to be extremely popular, and temporarily had to revert to demonstration pages for two days when over 11 million views of it were requested.
The site relaunched on 5 September 2011 with a redesigned interface and tools. The new version – referred to as EOLv2 – was developed in response to requests from the general public, citizen scientists, educators and professional biologists for a site that was more engaging, accessible and personal. EOLv2 is redesigned to enhance usability and encourage contributions and interactions among users. It is also internationalized with interfaces provided for English, German, Spanish, French, Galician, Serbian, Macedonian, Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Ukrainian language speakers. On 16 January 2014, EOL launched TraitBank, a searchable, open digital repository for organism traits, measurements, interactions and other facts for all taxa.
The initiative's executive committee includes senior officers from the Atlas of Living Australia, the Biodiversity Heritage Library consortium, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, CONABIO, Field Museum, Harvard University, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria), MacArthur Foundation, Marine Biological Laboratory, Missouri Botanical Garden, Sloan Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Information about many species is already available from a variety of sources, in particular about the megafauna. Gathering currently available data on all 1.9 million species will take about 10 years. As of September 2011 [update] , EOL had information on more than 700,000 species available, along with more than 600,000 photos and millions of pages of scanned literature. The initiative relies on indexing information compiled by other efforts, including the Sp2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life, Fishbase and the Assembling Tree of Life project of NSF, AmphibiaWeb, Mushroom explorer, microscope, etc. The initial focus has been on living species but will later include extinct species. As the discovery of new species is expected to continue (currently at about 20,000 per year), the encyclopedia will continue to grow. As taxonomy finds new ways to include species discovered by molecular techniques, the rate of new additions will increase, particularly in respect to the microbial work of (eu)bacteria, archaebacteria and viruses.[ citation needed ]EOL's goal is to serve as a resource for the general public, enthusiastic amateurs, educators, students and professional scientists from around the world.
The Encyclopedia of Life provides full provenance for information through citations from its trusted databases. Professional researchers publishing academic research should cite directly to the underlying data. [ clarification needed ]Users may not currently edit EOL's entries directly but may register for the site to join specialist expert communities to discuss relevant information, questions, possible corrections, sources, and potential updates, contribute images and sound, or volunteer for technical support services. Its interface is translated at translatewiki.net.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. An internationally important botanical research and education institution, it employs 1,100 staff. Its board of trustees is chaired by Dame Amelia Fawcett.
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is an American partnership of federal agencies designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species. ITIS was originally formed in 1996 as an interagency group within the US federal government, involving several US federal agencies, and has now become an international body, with Canadian and Mexican government agencies participating. The database draws from a large community of taxonomic experts. Primary content staff are housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and IT services are provided by a US Geological Survey facility in Denver. The primary focus of ITIS is North American species, but many biological groups exist worldwide and ITIS collaborates with other agencies to increase its global coverage.
The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., United States. It has free admission and is open 364 days a year. In 2021, with 7.1 million visitors, it was the eighteenth most visited museum in the world and the second most visited natural history museum in the world after the Natural History Museum in London. Opened in 1910, the museum on the National Mall was one of the first Smithsonian buildings constructed exclusively to hold the national collections and research facilities. The main building has an overall area of 1.5 million square feet (140,000 m2) with 325,000 square feet (30,200 m2) of exhibition and public space and houses over 1,000 employees.
Wikispecies is a wiki-based online project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation. Its aim is to create a comprehensive open content catalogue of all species; the project is directed at scientists, rather than at the general public. Jimmy Wales stated that editors are not required to fax in their degrees, but that submissions will have to pass muster with a technical audience. Wikispecies is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and CC BY-SA 3.0.
A BioBlitz, also written without capitals as bioblitz, is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period. There is a public component to many BioBlitzes, with the goal of getting the public interested in biodiversity. To encourage more public participation, these BioBlitzes are often held in urban parks or nature reserves close to cities. Research into the best practices for a successful BioBlitz has found that collaboration with local natural history museums can improve public participation. As well, BioBlitzes have been shown to be a successful tool in teaching post-secondary students about biodiversity.
NatureServe, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Arlington County, Virginia, US, that provides proprietary wildlife conservation-related data, tools, and services to private and government clients, partner organizations, and the public. NatureServe reports being "headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with regional offices in four U.S. locations and in Canada." In calendar year 2011 they reported having 86 employees, 6 volunteers, and 15 independent officers.
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international organisation that focuses on making scientific data on biodiversity available via the Internet using web services. The data are provided by many institutions from around the world; GBIF's information architecture makes these data accessible and searchable through a single portal. Data available through the GBIF portal are primarily distribution data on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes for the world, and scientific names data.
Animal Diversity Web (ADW) is an online database that collects the natural history, classification, species characteristics, conservation biology, and distribution information on thousands of species of animals. The website includes thousands of photographs, hundreds of sound clips, and a virtual museum.
The US National Virtual Observatory'-NVO- was conceived to allow scientists to access data from multiple astronomical observatories, including ground and space-based facilities, through a single portal. Originally, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the information technology research that created the basic NVO infrastructure through a multi-organization collaborative effort. The NVO was more than a “digital library”; it was a vibrant, growing online research facility akin to a bricks-and-mortar observatory for professional astronomers.
The Census of Marine Life was a 10-year, US $650 million scientific initiative, involving a global network of researchers in more than 80 nations, engaged to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans. The world's first comprehensive Census of Marine Life — past, present, and future — was released in 2010 in London. Initially supported by funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the project was successful in generating many times that initial investment in additional support and substantially increased the baselines of knowledge in often underexplored ocean realms, as well as engaging over 2,700 different researchers for the first time in a global collaborative community united in a common goal, and has been described as "one of the largest scientific collaborations ever conducted".
Plant Resources of Tropical Africa, known by its acronym PROTA, is a retired NGO and interdisciplinary documentation programme active between 2000 and 2013. PROTA produced a large database and various publications about Africa's useful plants.
The Catalogue of Life is an online database that provides an index of known species of animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms. It was created in 2001 as a partnership between the global Species 2000 and the American Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The Catalogue is used by research scientists, citizen scientists, educators, and policy makers. The Catalogue is also used by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Barcode of Life Data System, Encyclopedia of Life, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. The Catalogue currently compiles data from 165 peer-reviewed taxonomic databases that are maintained by specialist institutions around the world. As of September 2022, the COL Checklist lists 2,067,951 of the world's 2.2m extant species known to taxonomists on the planet at present time.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. BHL operates as a worldwide consortium of natural history, botanical, research, and national libraries working together to address this challenge by digitizing the natural history literature held in their collections and making it freely available for open access as part of a global “biodiversity community.” The BHL consortium works with the international taxonomic community, publishers, bioinformaticians, and information technology professionals to develop tools and services to facilitate greater access, interoperability, and reuse of content and data. BHL provides a range of services, data exports, and APIs to allow users to download content, harvest source data files, and reuse materials for research purposes. Through taxonomic intelligence tools developed by Global Names Architecture, BHL indexes the taxonomic names throughout the collection, allowing researchers to locate publications about specific taxa. In partnership with the Internet Archive and through local digitization efforts, BHL's portal provides free access to hundreds of thousands of volumes, comprising over 59 million pages, from the 15th-21st centuries.
Erik Möller is a German freelance journalist, software developer, author, and former deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), based in San Francisco. Möller additionally works as a web designer and previously managed his own web hosting service, myoo.de. As of 2022, he was VP of Engineering at the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is a taxonomic database that aims to provide an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms.
Plazi is a Swiss-based international non-profit association supporting and promoting the development of persistent and openly accessible digital bio-taxonomic literature. Plazi is cofounder of the Biodiversity Literature Repository and is maintaining this digital taxonomic literature repository at Zenodo to provide access to FAIR data converted from taxonomic publications using the TreatmentBank service, enhances submitted taxonomic treatments by creating a version in the XML format Taxpub, and educates about the importance of maintaining open access to scientific discourse and data. It is a contributor to the evolving e-taxonomy in the field of Biodiversity Informatics.
Francisco E. Baisas was a Philippine entomologist regarded as the "Dean of Philippine Culicidologists" whose "contributions to the knowledge of Philippine mosquitoes is without measure". His passing was described as the end of "an era which saw the elucidation of the malaria vectors of the Philippines and great progress made in the control of a disease which had accounted for as many as 2,000,000 cases annually in those islands."
The Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) is an initiative that aims to sequence and catalog the genomes of all of Earth's currently described eukaryotic species over a period of ten years. The initiative would produce an open DNA database of biological information that provides a platform for scientific research and supports environmental and conservation initiatives. A scientific paper presenting the vision for the project was published in PNAS in April 2018, and the project officially launched November 1, 2018.
The Arcadia Fund is a UK charity organization founded by Lisbet Rausing and Professor Peter Baldwin. Established in 2001, the organization provides grants on a worldwide basis focusing on numerous projects outside the UK. The primary focus of the organization is to preserve endangered culture and nature and to provide open access. Its Mission statement outlines the organization's philosophical view to: "serve humanity (and) to preserve cultural heritage and ecosystem's". The organization believes that "once memories, knowledge, skills, variety, and intricacy disappear – once the old complexities are lost – they are hard to replicate or replace" and consequently want to, "build a vibrant, resilient, green future".