[Annelida] Encyclopedia of Life launch, May 9, 2007

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Thu May 10 22:57:34 EST 2007

FWIW I'm in favour of this project, though it's early days, if it 
provides a user-friendly means for us experts to produce standard-layout 
content and material useful to us in our work on the animals we know. 
However, I don't have much faith in 'mash ups' from the existing web as 
a source of reliable anything, having seen what can happen. Quote from 
the site FAQ, "Unlike conventional encyclopedias, where an editorial 
team sits down and writes the entries, the Encyclopedia will be 
developed by bringing together (“mashing up”) content from a wide 
variety of sources. This material will then be authenticated by 
scientists ...". And we get silk purses from the sow's ears?

Science 11 May 2007:
Vol. 316. no. 5826, p. 818
DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5826.818
"Hands up if you've heard this before: An ambitious new project promises 
to create an online compendium of all 1.8 million or so described 
species. [...] If EOL sounds familiar, that's because its brief overlaps 
with those of several efforts, notably the All Species Foundation, whose 
chair promised to deliver a Web site for every species (Science, 26 
October 2001, p. 769). That project is defunct, but others have managed 
to cover slices of biodiversity. At one end of the spectrum is the 
Catalogue of Life, which houses bare-bones taxonomic data--the 
equivalent of name, rank, and serial number--for more than 1 million 
species. At the opposite end are lush sites such as FishBase and 
AlgaeBase, which home in on specific groups and offer illustrated pages 
on individual species."

" ... Researchers praise the EOL's vision but fret about the execution. 
"The exercise is only worthwhile if it's more accurate and better 
coordinated than what's already available on the Internet," says Frank 

Exactly. To do that properly is going to be take a lot of work and time 
delving into the books and old journal sets.

   Geoff Read <g.read from niwa.co.nz>

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