26 February 2008

Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life has finally moved past the preview stage.

It’s been very slow today, the server no doubt reeling under the load of people who have been eagerly awaiting it. But it’s a treat if you can get to it.

This particular database sprang from a TED prize for biologist E.O. Wilson, shown below.

This kind of project has been on the minds of a lot of people for a long time. There are various taxonomic databases out there. The Tree of Life was probably the first major one, and Wikispecies is another. And those projects have been very valuable, but I think it's fair to say they haven't revolutionized the science the way that GenBank did for DNA or that Wikipedia did for general knowledge.

Hopefully, Encyclopedia of Life can be that transformative resource.

No entry for Marmorkrebs – yet! – but there are plenty of crustaceans in the database already. Check out the crayfish page.

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