First Pages of Encyclopedia of Life Go Online

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 4:27pm.

 The first 30,000 pages of the online Encyclopedia of Life were unveiled Wednesday as part of an ambitious project to catalogue the 1.8 million species known on Earth.

In an immediate sign of its success, the Internet site was quickly swamped and inaccessible by midday.

The encyclopedia, which was launched in May 2007, provides free access to all current knowledge on the planet's biodiversity in a bid to help protect the environment from climate change and human over-exploitation.

It will take about a decade to complete the digital reference book which will eventually contain information on all living species documented over the past 250 years of scientific research.

And the Encyclopedia of Life will be constantly updated to include any new discoveries, or catalogue those species which become extinct.

The huge reference website has been made possible thanks to technological advances in search engines and online visualization techniques, the project coordinators said.

Eventually the encyclopedia might be broadened to include microscopic life.

But by grouping all 1.8 million known species it will prove a valuable tool for scientists researching all kinds of fields from disease transmission to protecting endangered animals, project director Jim Edwards said. 

AP - February 27, 2008 - posted at

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 4:27pm.