James Edwards by 2zn5u0


									The Encyclopedia of Life: A
Web Site for Every Species

             James Edwards
             Executive Director, EOL
             Barcode of Life Conference
             20 September 2007
                         The missing link in CBOL

• CBOL making excellent progress on:
   – Promoting barcodes
   – BOLD
   – Developing linkages with other projects
   – Adding barcode content
   – BARCODE standard
   – etc.

• One important component missing
   – Database of species information

             Enter the Encyclopedia of Life
                        What is the EOL?

• 21st century on-line encyclopedia about Earth’s
  biological species
• With information about all currently accepted
• And the millions more still to be described
• All presented in a common format
• But user configurable
• All freely available over the Internet
• And accessible from a common portal
• But with capability for users to develop their own
                         Encyclopedia of Life
• Core: a separate web site for each of Earth’s
  known species
  – Estimated to be 1.8 million validly known species
• Each site contains:
  – Introductory page for general public
     • Vetted by experts
     • Source of the information indicated (“attribution”)
     • With links to the scientific literature
  – Additional pages and entry points for diverse user
     •   Molecular & evolutionary biologists
     •   Taxonomists
     •   Horticulturists, bird watchers
     •   Biodiversity-based industries (fisheries)
     •   School children, teachers, citizen scientists
                                 Status of EOL

• Idea for EOL came from many people
    – Dan Janzen, Chris Thompson, ALL Species, E.O. Wilson …

• Until recently, IT technology was a limiting factor

• Current version of EOL launched May 2007

• 10-year cost ~ $70 m?

• $25 million committed by MacArthur and Sloan Foundations

• Cornerstone institutions pledged to raise additional $25 million

• Portal v1.0 to open in February 2008

• All EOL’s activities are carried out in partnership with
    – Organizations
    – Institutions
    – Individuals
                  Plan to develop species pages--
                           phase 1 (pilot)

• Work with existing organizations to port
  information into EOL (“low-hanging fruit”)
  – FishBase--species page
                Plan to develop species pages--
                         phase 1 (pilot)

– Tree of Life Web--supraspecific pages

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                are need ed to see this picture .
                 Plan to develop species pages--
                          phase 1 (pilot)

– Catalogue of Life--default taxonomy

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                     Plan to develop species pages--
                                 phase 1

• Milestone:

  – EOL portal, version 1, released in February 2008

     • More than 30,000 species pages

     • Possibly other pages (amphibians)

     • Many thousand additional pages (e.g. supraspecific pages)
                           Plan to develop species pages--
                                       phase 2

• Work with taxonomic communities to prepare species pages in their

    – Oct. 2007--international meeting on plant species pages at Missouri
      Botanical Garden

• Aggregation (“mashup”) technology to pull information together for
  draft species pages

• Wiki technologies for page curators to authenticate data

    – Curators will be identified as the authors of the pages

• Prepare versions of EOL that will work on all platforms, from
  desktops to handhelds
                          Plan to develop species pages--
                                      phase 2

• Expected partners:

   – Global Biodiversity Information Facility--specimen and
     observational data--maps

   – BOLD

   – Sequence databases

   – National/international projects
       • Atlas of Living Australia
       • IUCN
       • Zoobank

   – Taxonomic communities
                      Plan to develop species pages--
                                  phase 2

• Milestone:

  – Within five years, have

     • 1 million species pages

         – Of varying levels of completeness
                              Other components of EOL

• Biodiversity Heritage Library

   – Consortium of ten of the world’s largest natural history libraries

   – Plan to digitize world’s scientific biodiversity literature

       • Estimate 320,000,000 printed pages

       • Have digitized and marked up > 2 million pages

   – Taxonomic intelligence applied to all pages
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TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
   are need ed to see this picture.
                           Other components of EOL

• Biodiversity Synthesis
   – Look across the species sites and identify novel uses
       • “Macroscope”
   – Biodiversity Synthesis Center
   – Collaborations with user groups
       • E.g., pollinators, ageing

• Education and Outreach
   – Schools at all levels
   – Citizen scientists (amateur naturalists, birdwatchers, horticulturists, etc.
       • Tools to allow people to feed information back into the EOL
                           A personal aside stimulated
                                     by Benoit Dayrat

• Fully agree with:
   – Need for an integrative approach to alpha taxonomy, coupled with
     monographic analyses
   – Insistence on having barcodes for all new types
   – Importance of taxonomists moving from cottage-industry to
     collaborative, on-line approach
• EOL, combined with resources being developed by EDIT and CATE,
  can be a valuable tool in these changes
   – Obviate each taxonomist spending time finding all the names again
   – Will also empower scientists in developing countries by providing on-line
     access to information and literature
                                         In conclusion

• Encyclopedia of Life will be an excellent resource for:
    – Aiding taxonomic research
    – Providing species-level information to everyone
    – Weaving together the many excellent biodiversity initiatives and
    – Serving DNA barcode data
    – Supporting decision makers

• It can serve as the species database for barcorders
      Join us on this
     grand adventure


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