The Corpus Callosum

Encyclopedia of Life

There is a new website, rel="tag">Encyclopedia of Life.
 It is an online resource that aims “to document all species
of life on Earth.”  One featured species is Pissodes
strobi
(Peck), the White pine weevil.

beetle.jpeg src="http://scienceblogs.com/corpuscallosum/image%0As/beetle.jpeg"
class="inset" height="231" width="460">

The site currently contains:

  • About 25 href="http://www.eol.org/content/exemplars">exemplar species
    pages
    .
    These pages show the kind of rich environment, with extensive
    information, to which all the species pages will eventually grow. These
    pages have been authenticated (endorsed) by scientists.
  • Tens of thousands of additional species pages.
    These pages are authenticated, but do not contain the rich array of
    information found on the exemplar pages.
  • About 1 million minimal species pages
    contain the
    scientific and common names for a species and often have a distribution
    map, but lack other authenticated information.

Much of the material is supplied by various outside content providers,
but most of it is covered by a Creative Commons license.  The
image above, for example, has the “Attribution-Noncommercial-Share
Alike 3.0″ license from href="http://insects.oeb.harvard.edu/farrell_lab/index.htm"
target="_blank">Brian D. Farrell and, href="http://www.rr.ualberta.ca/People/Index.asp?Page=Directory&id=1204"
target="_blank">David W. Langor of Harvard and the
University of Alberta.  The site allows individuals to
participate.

href="http://scienceblogs.com/clock/2007/05/the_encyclopedia_of_life.php">Couturnix
and href="http://scienceblogs.com/afarensis/2007/05/09/encyclopedia_of_life/">Afarensis
commented about the plans for the site last year, before it was up and
running.  As href="http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2008/02/26/encyclopedia_of_life_up_and_ru.php">noted
by Carl Zimmer last month, the site was up, then reverted to a limited,
demonstration mode.   href="scienceblogs.com/zooillogix/2008/03/encyclopedia_of_life_what_do_y.php">Benny
Bleiman and href="http://scienceblogs.com/evolgen/2008/02/encyclopedia_of_life.php">Evolgen
later noted that they were having technical glitches, and some
controversies had arisen.  I’ve been fiddling with it tonight,
and it appears to be running well.  

Sure, people will argue about classification.  They will want
more information to be included.  But the site has to start
somewhere, and they are not going to make everyone happy no matter what
they do.  People who don’t like it should start their own
sites.