I wrote about this on a different blog that I help maintain and thought if you haven't heard of it yet, Classroom 2.0 people would be interested:

The latest edition of Smithsonian Magazine contained a 1-page write up about a new initiative that the Smithsonian is partnering with other organizations on called the Encyclopedia of Life. The project is unique in many ways, some of which are briefly outlined below:

* The goal of the Encyclopedia of Life is to document all known species (some 1.8 million!) each on a media-rich web page including still images, maps, video, text, sound recordings and so forth. According to the current web site of the Encyclopedia of Life, it has been estimated that the project will take roughly 10 years to complete. Dynamic content will be authenticated by a team of scientists from various organizations around the world. Page development started in 2007. Some parts of the Encyclopedia of Life may be available to the public in mid-2008.

* The site will be interactive. There will be a chat feature and access to experts. It will feature an interactive classification map of species. And, importantly, users will be able to contribute content. Think of the possibilities for classroom studies and projects!

* The Encyclopedia of Life will allow for personalization and customizable browsing. Users will be able to change the level of complexity of the text (think differentiation). And people who create accounts will be able to bookmark pages, make tags, and take notes.

For an intriguing video, previews of a few species’ pages and more info, see the current web site: Encyclopedia of Life
( http://www.eol.org )

Tags: content sharing, elementary, science, secondary

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I think this is one of the greatest projects of our time on earth. Congratulations to E.O. Wilson for being such a visionary, for having the motivation and wisdom to get this going. Thank you, Greg, for bringing this to our attention.
WOW - this is fantastic! My specialty is animal folklore and mythology: it will be excellent to have a resource like this to link to and share with my students. Wikipedia is pretty good on animals right now, but a resource like this is definitely a step up from wikipedia. THANKS for the posting! :-)
What an amazing idea. I wonder if it will be extended to other areas of study. What is so good to me is the idea that we are working together as a species on a truly global project.
This is quite an impressive project. I have seen similar attempts in the past, but nothing as interactive or comprehensive. The U.S. federal government (with help from Smithsonian) has been working for years on the Integrated Taxonimic Information System (ITIS), which is supposed to be a database with the accurate taxonomic information for every species in the world. This site is sort of like a Wiki in that anyone can submit information about a species, which then goes under extensive review. I think they are up to about 450,000 species, but there isn't much in the way of factual information about a particular species (or any pretty pictures....). This Encyclopedia will be amazing!
I have had this one bookmarked for quite awhile. I think that it is a great way for different learners. Thanks for reminding me.

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