Encyclopedia of Life: Cataloguing Earth’s Ecosystem


The Encyclopedia of life (EOL) is a new project that went online just a few days ago. Its goal is to create a free online database for every one of Earth’s 1.8 million known species. The site currently features 30,000 entries, but as time passes, the rest of our planet living organisms should appear.

On its first day online (February 26), the encyclopedia’s site logged over 11.5 million hits over 5 and a half hours, counting two hours of downtime due to excessive demand. If you thought being dugg could be a webserver’s worst nightmare, think again!

For now, all accepted entries in the Encyclopedia’s database will come from scientists, but in a few months, the site will start accepting submissions from the public, just like Wikipedia. Needless to say, I’m sure that strong moderation measures will be implemented to ensure data integrity.

Just like Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia of Life exists because of private donations. Initial funding was provided by the John and Catherine MacArthur Foundation ($10 million) and by the Alfred Sloan Foundation ($2.5 million).