Big Book

Encyclopedia of Life Update




The second edition of the Smithsonian Institution’s free, online collaborative Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is now easier to use. It also has been vastly expanded, offering information on more than one-third of all known species on Earth, including hundreds of thousands of images and videos.

With the updated format, users can easily find species of interest; create personal collections of photos and information; find or upload pictures, videos and sounds; and share comments, questions and expertise with users worldwide that share similar interests.

EOL.org seeks to become a microscope in reverse, helping users to discern large-scale patterns. By aggregating for analysis information on Earth’s estimated 1.9 million known species, scientists say EOL could, for example, help map vectors of human disease; reveal mysteries behind longevity; suggest substitute plant pollinators for a swelling list of places where honeybees no longer provide the function; and foster strategies to slow the spread of invasive species.

All EOL information is available for reuse and is licensed under Creative Commons and other Open Access free licenses.

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