Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

In 2007, the Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, Marine Biological Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution and Biodiversity Heritage Library joined together to initiate the Encyclopedia of Life, an ongoing collaboration among its cornerstone institutions and international partners, with the common goal to gather and share knowledge about all forms of life. The Encyclopedia of Life is a global effort to document all 1.9 million named species of animals, plants and other forms of life on Earth and make that information freely accessible.

EOL welcomes image and video contributions from the public. The easiest way to get images up on EOL is through our Encyclopedia of Life Images group at the photo-sharing site Flickr. You can also share short video clips (up to 90 seconds) through EOL's Flickr group. For longer videos, EOL has an Encyclopedia of Life Videos group on Vimeo. You can also share organism images through Wikimedia Commons.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Erick Mata, Executive Director
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Encyclopedia of Life
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Any registered EOL member can simply add text to EOL taxon pages. Simply create a (free) account (by clicking on create an account at the top of any EOL page), then look for the "Add New Content" link at the bottom of the TABLE OF CONTENTS. Unless you are a registered EOL curator, new text will initially appear with a yellow background indicating that it is not yet part of the authoritative EOL collection. Curators will review your submission and will promote suitable content to trusted status. When you register, we ask that you provide us with credentials, so we can evaluate your expertise.

See more projects in FreeObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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