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First look at vast ‘book of life’

March 5, 2008

The encyclopedia now has placeholder pages for one million species, of which 30,000 have been populated with detailed information. There are also about a dozen highly developed multimedia pages giving a taster of what to expect in time from the EOL.

clipped from

Screenshot of page from Encyclopaedia of Life (EOL)
The encyclopedia is scheduled for completion in 2017

The first 30,000 pages have been unveiled of a vast encyclopedia which aims to catalogue every one of our planet’s 1.8 million species.
The immense online resource is designed to greatly enhance our understanding of the world’s diminishing biodiversity.
The creators of the database say it could have an impact on human knowledge comparable to that which followed the microscope’s invention in the 1600s.

It is designed to be used by everyone from scientists to lay readers.

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) – described as the “ultimate field guide” – is to encompass all six kingdoms of life, and even viruses – which many researchers do not consider to be living organisms.

The immense amount of information in the encyclopedia is being drawn from a variety of sources, including several existing specialist databases such as AmphibiaWeb and FishBase.

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