Friday, May 11, 2007

Encyclopedia of Life (Livsencyklopedin)

Now, this is great! Scientists have started a project, headed by famous scientist E O Wilson, to catalogue all life (=species) on Earth, and make it all available on-line. All the work we and others do, can and hopefully will be made available to all only a mouse-click away. Today you will have to look things up in obscure books and journals, and websites are scattered over the web with no hub to connect them. This is funded by some foundations and science places for 50 million dollar so far. Just like governments are spending money on global warming research, I think they should spend money on this global issue.

Check it out here, make sure you watch the video, it is great. Extremely well designed!

There is a big discussion going on at the taxonomy listserves about this, all are positive, but many think that scientists should be paid to write up the species pages, to compensate them for time spent on this. Taxonomists have to eat and feed kids too. We will see how it goes. There are 1.8 million species known...

I hope that this can reinvigorate taxonomy even more, especially among insects and small critters, and fungi and such. Amateurs should be able to help out too - like all entomologists in Sweden :)

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