Encyclopedia of Life catalogues more than one-third of Earth's species

EncyclopediaOn Monday, the free and collaborative ‘Encyclopedia of Life’ (EoL) website announced its newest version now boasts pages for almost 750,000 species; thus implying that more than one-third of all the Earth’s 1.9 million species have now been catalogued!

The figures mark a key milestone, as well as a noteworthy expansion, for the three-year-old EoL website which initially, when launched in early 2008, had only 30,000 species pages.

The new look EoL site’s additions – which are part of a global online project aimed at crating pages for each of the known species on the planet – come across as species fact files that have been written by the scientists at the Natural History Museum.

The Museum experts produced the 365 Species of the day fact files – which range from the giant squid to the Neanderthals - for the United Nation’s 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.

The EoL site – the new version of which allows members to create their own collection of species – chiefly makes use of content from 180 partners, working in earnest to bring together images, videos and scientific information, including 35 million pages of scanned literature created by the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

With the EOL apparently having over 1 million more pages in place awaiting content from partners and members, Edward O Wilson – a well-known Harvard University biologist, and of the driving forces behind the EoL – said that the new site “opens EoL's vast and growing storehouse of knowledge to a much larger range of users, including medicine, biotechnology, ecology, and now increasingly the general public.”