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The ''Encyclopedia of Life'' (''EOL'') is a free, online encyclopedia intended to document all of the 1.9 million
living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms ** extant taxon, Living species, one that is not extinct *Personal life, the course of an individual human ...

living
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
known to science. It is compiled from existing trusted databases curated by experts and with the assistance of non-experts throughout the world. 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 The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available ...
, 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 The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private foundation A private foundation is a charitable organization that, while serving a good cause, might or might not qualify as a public charity by government standards. The Bill & M ...
and the
Sloan Foundation The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is an American philanthropic Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life". Philanthropy contrasts with business initiatives, which are private initiatives for ...
, who provided US$20 million and US$5 million, respectively. The additional US$25 million came from five cornerstone institutions—the
Field Museum The Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), also known as The Field Museum, is a natural history museum in Chicago, Illinois, and is one of the largest such museums in the world. The museum is a popular natural history, natural-history museum for ...
,
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
, the
Marine Biological Laboratory The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is an international center for research and education in biological and environmental science. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the U ...
, the
Missouri Botanical Garden The Missouri Botanical Garden is a botanical garden A botanical garden or botanic gardenThe terms ''botanic'' and ''botanical'' and ''garden'' or ''gardens'' are used more-or-less interchangeably, although the word ''botanic'' is genera ...

Missouri Botanical Garden
, and the
Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution ( ), or simply, the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and education and research centers, the largest such complex in the world, created by the U.S. government "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". Founded ...

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.


Overview

''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 English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
German German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...

German
,
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
,
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of co ...

French
,
GalicianGalician may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Galicia (Spain) ** Galician language ** Galician people ** Gallaeci, a large Celtic tribal federation who inhabited Gallaecia (currently Galicia (Spain) * Something of, from, or related to ...
,
Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * Serbian language * Serbian names See also

* * * Serbian Uprising (disamb ...
,
Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
,
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
,
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different count ...
,
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans Koreans ( South Korean: , , North Korean: , , ; see names of Korea There are various names of Korea in use today, all derived from ancient kingdoms and dynasties. The modern English name " ...
and
Ukrainian Ukrainian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Ukraine * Something relating to Ukrainians an East Slavic people from Eastern Europe * Something relating to Demographics of Ukraine, in terms of demography: population of Ukraine * Somethi ...
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 The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available ...
consortium, the
Chinese Academy of Sciences The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS; ) is the national academy#REDIRECT National academy A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research ...
, CONABIO,
Field Museum The Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), also known as The Field Museum, is a natural history museum in Chicago, Illinois, and is one of the largest such museums in the world. The museum is a popular natural history, natural-history museum for ...
,
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
, the
Bibliotheca Alexandrina The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...

Bibliotheca Alexandrina
(Library of Alexandria),
MacArthur Foundation The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private foundation A private foundation is a charitable organization that, while serving a good cause, might or might not qualify as a public charity by government standards. The Bill & M ...
,
Marine Biological Laboratory The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is an international center for research and education in biological and environmental science. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the U ...
,
Missouri Botanical Garden The Missouri Botanical Garden is a botanical garden A botanical garden or botanic gardenThe terms ''botanic'' and ''botanical'' and ''garden'' or ''gardens'' are used more-or-less interchangeably, although the word ''botanic'' is genera ...

Missouri Botanical Garden
,
Sloan Foundation The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is an American philanthropic Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life". Philanthropy contrasts with business initiatives, which are private initiatives for ...
, and the
Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution ( ), or simply, the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and education and research centers, the largest such complex in the world, created by the U.S. government "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". Founded ...

Smithsonian Institution
.


Intention

Information about many species is already available from a variety of sources, in particular about the
megafauna In terrestrial zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is usually regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the Animal, animal kingdom, including the anatomy, structure, embryology, e ...

megafauna
. Gathering currently available data on all 1.9 million species will take about 10 years. , ''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 The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is an American partnership of federal agencies designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of thin ...
Catalogue of Life The Catalogue of Life is an online database An online database is a database In computing, a database is an organized collection of Data (computing), data stored and accessed electronically from a computer system. Where databases are more co ...
,
Fishbase FishBase is a global species database of fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ray ...
and the Assembling Tree of Life project of
NSF
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. ''EOL''s goal is to serve as a resource for the general public, enthusiastic amateurs, educators, students and professional scientists from around the world.


Resources and collaborations

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. 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.


See also

*
All Species Foundation The All Species Foundation (stylized as ALL Species Foundation) was an organization aiming to catalog all species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well ...
*
Biodiversity Heritage Library The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available ...
*
List of online encyclopedias This is a list of online encyclopedias—i.e., encyclopedias accessible on the Internet or formerly accessible on the Internet. The largest online encyclopedias are general reference works, though there are also many specialized ones. Some online ...
*
Wikispecies Wikispecies is a wiki A wiki ( ) is a hypertext Douglas Engelbart in 2009, at the 40th anniversary celebrations of "The Mother of All Demos" in San Francisco, a 90-minute 1968 presentation of the NLS (computer system)">NLS co ...


References


External links

* * * from May 2007. {{Authority control 21st-century encyclopedias American online encyclopedias Arabic-language encyclopedias Biodiversity databases Biological literature Biology websites Chinese encyclopedias Encyclopedias of science English-language encyclopedias Online encyclopedias French encyclopedias German-language encyclopedias
Internet properties established in 2008 Notable websites and internet companies/resources established in 2008. Computer-related introductions in 2008 Internet properties by year of establishment Internet properties established in the 2000s Computer companies established in 2008 Mass me ...
Korean encyclopedias Missouri Botanical Garden Multilingual websites Phylogenetics Serbian-language encyclopedias Spanish encyclopedias Taxonomy (biology) Zoological nomenclature