The Encyclopedia of
Life (EOL) is a free, online collaborative
encyclopedia intended to document all of the 1.9 million living
species known to science. It is compiled from existing databases and
from contributions by experts and 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, 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.
3 Resources and collaborations
4 See also
6 External links
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
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
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
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.
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 has content partners around the world who
share information through the EOL platform, including
Its interface is translated at translatewiki.net.
Book: Encyclopedia of Life
Biodiversity Heritage Library
List of online encyclopedias
^ "Eol.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
^ a b "EOL History". Eol.org. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
^ Odling-Smee, Lucy (2007-05-09). "Encyclopedia of
Nature. doi:10.1038/news070508-7. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
^ "James Edwards - Encyclopedia of Life". Eol.org. Retrieved
^ Zimmer, Carl (2008-02-26). "The Encyclopedia of Life, No Bookshelf
Required". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
Life Encyclopedia Debut Too Popular to Stay "Live"". National
Geographic. Associated Press. February 27, 2008. Retrieved
^ "New Version of Encyclopedia of
Life Now Available – Encyclopedia
of Life". Eol.org. 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
^ "TraitBank: Practical semantics for organism attribute data".
Semantic-web-journal.net. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
^ "Scientists compile 'book of life'". BBC News. 2007-05-09. Retrieved
^ "Meet the Team: Executive Committee". EOL. 2012-02-28. Retrieved
^ "Encyclopédie de la vie: Une arche de Noé virtuelle!".
Radio-Canada. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
^ "New Version of the Encyclopedia of
Life Now Available". Eol.org.
2011-09-05. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
^ "EOL Content Partners". Eol.org. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
Wikinews has related news: Scientists to bring all species together in
Encyclopedia of Life
"A Leap for All Life: World's Leading Scientists Announce Creation of
'Encyclopedia of Life'". Encyclopedia of Life. 2007-05-09.
The Encyclopedia of
Life – Introductory video on
YouTube from May
Evolutionary biology portal