Introduction to EOL - Long

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  • The Encyclopedia of Life is an unprecedented partnership between the scientific community and the public.

  • The project was first launched in 2008 with significant support from the MacArthur & Sloan Foundations and the EOL cornerstone institutions.

  • The major goals of the Encyclopedia of Life project are: to make all biodiversity information openly accessible, through a single portal, in a common format, and to provide some form of quality control for the materials featured in the collection.

    EOL will always be growing, as researchers find out new things about described species and discover new species yet unknown to science.

    We estimate that it will take about ten years to prepare the basic information on the currently known species and to set up a robust process whereby new species are incorporated as they are described.
  • EOL has a diverse contributor community, and there are many different ways to participate in the project.

    Professional scientist are the project’s core contributors. They assemble most of the information available on the EOL web site, and as curators they also help authenticate materials from diverse sources.

    In addition, EOL is making it possible for the public to submit photos, videos, and other species information. From this pool EOL curators then identify valuable submissions and integrate them into the authoritative EOL collection.
  • What sorts of things do we collect?
  • EOL pages are assembled with contributions from many content partners.

    For example, all of the projects listed here have contributed content to the page for the common toad.

    Both the authors and the projects supplying the information to EOL are credited for their contributions, and there are links back to the original source of each data object.

    Currently EOL has over 61 content partners supplying information in text, image, and video format


  • In addition to the materials collected from our content partners, we are also involved in a major effort to digitize all of the world’s published biodiversity literature through the Biodiversity Heritage Library. This is a project under the EOL umbrella, that is a consortium of the world’s leading natural history institutions, which are making the materials held in their libraries available for scanning and free and open distribution over the web. To date, BHL has digitized over 15000 titles and more than 16 million pages.
  • How exactly can the public contribute to this effort?









  • Curators have the ability to mark EOL content in their assigned group as trusted or untrusted.
    Can also hide content if it is completely inappropriate.

  • Curators have the ability to mark EOL content in their assigned group as trusted or untrusted.
    Can also hide content if it is completely inappropriate.

  • They can also rate objects based on their quality, and these ratings will affect the sequence in which data objects are shown on EOL pages
  • Curators can change the preferred common name (feature was developed based on request by curators)
  • which is displayed as a subtitle at the top of an EOL page.
  • note that the common name subtitle changes depending on the preferred language selected by the user
  • so curators can set the preferred name in many different languages
  • and they can also add new common names to the database in many different languages.
  • Curators are credited as editors in a byline on the taxon pages for which they have curated data objects.
  • We also keep track of their curation activities on the curator's personal profile page.
    Curators can thus list their curator activity among their professional accomplishments, and EOL will be happy to provide a letter confirming the curator's involvement with the project.
  • The EOL curator network was launched in the spring of last year.
    So far over 350 curators have signed up, and together they have curated more than 4500 objects.
    Our curators represent a broad taxonomic range.
    In this cloud of groups assigned to EOL curators, the size of a name represents the number of curators to which the group is assigned.
    You can see that there are quite a few people signed up for animals and plants, mammals, birds, and various arthropods.
  • The EOL curator network was launched in the spring of last year.
    So far over 350 curators have signed up, and together they have curated more than 4500 objects.
    Our curators represent a broad taxonomic range.
    In this cloud of groups assigned to EOL curators, the size of a name represents the number of curators to which the group is assigned.
    You can see that there are quite a few people signed up for animals and plants, mammals, birds, and various arthropods.

  • Although EOL is currently run almost entirely from within the US, the project aims to be international in scope. In order to be able to present content in many different languages, EOL is working with organizations in several countries.

    EOL is also establishing so-called Regional EOLs in a number of different areas around the world. For the regions highlighted on this map regional EOL projects are already well underway, while others are still in the early planning stages.
  • Regional EOLs are EOL sister sites, that use the software and branding of EOL but provide their own funding and content development efforts. These projects will focus on the flora and fauna of their region while using materials from the global EOL project to provide context. Content will also be translated and shared between and among regional EOLs and the global EOL site.
  • The EOL licensing policy mandates that all content flowing through EOL must be available for redistribution and reuse at least for non-commercial purposes.

    Authors may choose to release their materials in the public domain, or they can retain their copyright and choose a creative commons license that allows for the creation of derivative works.

    The purpose of this policy is to facility the building of a global biodiversity commons of high quality resources to support diverse projects in research, education, conservation, and policy making.

    To further promote this goal and make it easy for other projects to take advantage of EOL content, EOL is also developing web services to redistribute materials aggregated from content partners.
  • Please visit eol.org and explore the ABOUT EOL menu to find out how you can become involved in the project. With your help, EOL will be able to meet increasing demands for biodiversity information. The EOL community hopes that increased access to knowledge about all organisms will transform science and the public understanding of life on Earth.


  • Introduction to EOL - Long

    1. 1. The Encyclopedia of Life: eol.org
    2. 2. EOL Funding MacArthur Foundation Sloan Foundation Cornerstone Institutions Biodiversity Heritage Library The Field Museum Harvard University Marine Biological Laboratory Missouri Botanical Garden Smithsonian Institution
    3. 3. The EOL Project All biodiversity information Open access Single portal Common format Quality control Always growing
    4. 4. Diverse contributors: Many ways to participate Scientific community • Assemble scientific information • Authenticate information – CURATORS Students, teachers, enthusiasts • Submit photos, videos, other species information • Submissions with scientific value are brought into authenticated pages
    5. 5. The EOL Collection Scientific & Vernacular Names Taxonomies Images, videos, sounds (coming soon) Distribution data (via GBIF, more coming soon) Original descriptions Full descriptions – rich table of contents Nomenclaturally and taxonomically important literature Links to additional information Data (coming soon)
    6. 6. EOL pages feature materials from many different content partners
    7. 7. BHL: Digitize the published biodiversity literature and make it available for open access • American Museum of Natural History • The Field Museum • Harvard University Libraries • Marine Biological Laboratory & Woodshole Oceanographic Institution • Missouri Botanical Garden • Natural History Museum, London • The New York Botanical Gardens • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew > 15,000 titles • Smithsonian Institution > 16,000,000 pages
    8. 8. Contributions from the Public
    9. 9. Contributions from the Public Text • Users can add text on EOL site
    10. 10. Contributions from the Public Text • Users can add text on EOL site
    11. 11. Contributions from the Public Text • Users can add text on EOL site
    12. 12. Contributions from the Public Text • Users can add text on EOL site • Contribute to Wikipedia
    13. 13. Contributions from the Public Text • Users can add text on EOL site • Contribute to Wikipedia Images & Videos • Flickr
    14. 14. Contributions from the Public Text • Users can add text on EOL site • Contribute to Wikipedia Images & Videos • Flickr • Wikimedia Commons
    15. 15. Contributions from the Public Text • Users can add text on EOL site • Contribute to Wikipedia Images & Videos • Flickr • Wikimedia Commons Tags & Comments
    16. 16. Non-expert contributions are marked as unreviewed
    17. 17. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text
    18. 18. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text
    19. 19. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text
    20. 20. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text Rate object quality
    21. 21. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text Rate object quality Preferred common name
    22. 22. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text Rate object quality Preferred common name
    23. 23. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text Rate object quality Preferred common name
    24. 24. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text Rate object quality Preferred common name in many languages
    25. 25. EOL Curators Trust/untrust images/text Rate object quality Preferred common name in many languages Add new common names
    26. 26. Curator Credits Credited as taxon page editors
    27. 27. Curator Credits Credited as taxon page editors
    28. 28. Curator Credits Credited as taxon page editors Activity recorded on personal profile pages
    29. 29. Curator Network > 400 curators registered so far > 4,500 objects curated
    30. 30. Curator Network > 400 curators registered so far > 4,500 objects curated broad taxonomic coverage
    31. 31. EOL Content - Current Status almost 400,000 taxon pages with content > 300,000 pages with vetted data objects > 1.7 million data objects (images, text descriptions) > 400 curators > 800,000 pages with links to literature (through Biodiversity Heritage Library)
    32. 32. Regional EOLs Serve content in many languages Collaborate with international Partners Regional EOLs Norway Dutch North America Pan-Arab China Central America South Africa Australia
    33. 33. Regional Serving regional needs in regional language Basic tools Shares pages Relevant Translations data Global Other region Serving international needs Other region All species
    34. 34. Open Access! All content must be available for redistribution/reuse • public domain • creative commons licenses Content is redistributed through APIs: labs.eol.org
    35. 35. Help Build EOL!

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