Plans announced to create the Encyclopedia of Life

source: San Jose Mercury News

The Encyclopedia of Life ( will take approximately 10 years to create according to its founders, who will announce the effort in Washington DC today. Who are they? Some of the world's leading scientific institutions and universities in the world.

They plan to catalog and share information on all of the species of animals and will allow information on SIGHTINGS from "amateurs."

Projected to take 300 million pages,
"The MacArthur and Sloan foundations have given a total $12.5 million to pay for the first 2 1/2 years of the massive effort, but it will be free and accessible to everyone."

From the great article over at the San Jose Mercury News,

""It could be a very big leap in the way we do science," said Cristian Samper, acting secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, one of seven museums, universities and labs to launch the encyclopedia. "This is a project that is so big, not even the Smithsonian could do it by itself. It is a global effort."

Other institutions helping head the undertaking include Harvard University, Chicago's Field Museum, the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, the Biodiversity Heritage Library Consortium, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Atlas of Living Australia."

Of course, as an idealist, I wish these scientists would sign up to contribute to wikipedia, the mechanism is already in place. And who is going to define "amateur?"

My Mixed Emotions

I applaud that scientists are now seeing that the online creation of content is a valid form of scholarship. I am saddened that another behemoth is going to be created when perhaps we could take the wikipedia entries already in place and edit them.

However, perhaps this is just the answer to those skeptics out there who dismiss wikipedia as a valid source of information, they won't be able to dispute this one and perhaps will be forced to unblock this resource although it will be edited by man!

I just found out about it. What do you think?

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