You need Macromedia Flash Player version 8 or higher to see the website.

Home  » Projects  » Advancing Science and Technology »  Project Details

Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of life (EOL) is the window to 1.8 million species known to the scientists to date. Targeting to feature biodiversity and its impact on human life, EOL works on expanding knowledge about life on earth by gathering , generating, and sharing relevant information in an open, freely accessible and trusted digital resource. EOL provides diverse knowledge about the main five kingdoms of living creatures; Animalia, Fungi, Chromista, Bacteria and Viruses.

On February 27, 2008, the first 30,000 EOL pages were unveiled online for public where the basic information was prepared 10 years prior to the launch. In September 2011, a new version (EOLv2) has been launched encompassing more than 700,000 species represented in an interactive internationalized platform of six languages; English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Galeco and Serbian.

EOLv2 Newly Implemented Features

EOL new version comes in an interactive context. It allows users to add more value to the content by adding new information, participate in curating the content, link to external relevant inforamtion, etc. This interactive platform also allows users to create their own collections using the available information on species such as articles, videos, pictures, distribution maps, audios, other users or other collections, etc.

BA’s Role

As per the agreement signed between the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) and the Smithsonian Institute in December 2009, the BA has since been participating in the internationalization of the system rendering it an accomodating platform for multilingualism, and simultaneously creating an Arabic version of the EOL project. To that end, the BA works in parallel on several tracks to pursue the augmentation of Arabic scientific content on the Internet, bringing Arab scientists into the arena, allowing them to participate by adding new content comprising regional species from the Arab world or new information on already-existing species on EOL.

Hence, ISIS works on the following tracks;

  • Mirroring and Replication: The ICT team has been working closely with the Marine Biological Laboratory’s (MBL) to create a mirror site of the main EOL system. The mirror is currently up and running and maintained within the same standards of technical proficiency deployed by EOL. The system has been built using the required servers based on Master/Slave database replication.
  • Producing translated Arabic content and publishing the output on EOL which requires working on two parallel axis:
    • Internationalization of EOL system required radical changes in the database and code layers to achieve an internationalized version of the system. This process has been achieved by both; the MBL and BA teams. In addition, the BA team has developed the internationalized version of the Content Management System (CMS) on EOL to allow for adding, editing and controlling the content on EOL in the six languages.
    • Implementing an automated workflow to control the process of producing Arabic content from selection of species through to publishing the translated output on the EOL system. The workflow was efficiently designed to ensure the accuracy of the content added on the EOL system.
  • Adding content from the Arab region: LifeDesks has been used as a potential tool to import species form Arab content providers. The first provider was the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CultNat) giving access to database containing around 3,000 flora and fauna species from Egypt. And accordingly other sub sites will be added to the Life desks system to be ingested on the EOL after translation.
  • Maintaining the literature component of EOL represented by the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). It is a consortium of 12 natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.”
    BA will provide mirror for the content of BHL which is estimated to comprise 100,000 books. The BA has published around 20,481 books on DAR while the rest are still in the pipeline of the ingestion workflow. As well as the BA will provide Arabic content related to Biodiversity from DAR.
    By the launch of the interactive version of EOL, the Encyclopedia of Life is now considered as a global community of collaborators and contributors serving the general public, enthusiastic amateurs, educators, students and professional scientists from all around the world.

EOL in several contexts:

EOL is the world's largest source for trusted species-level information gathered from over 180 content partners, providing on-line access to over 750,000 pages of species content. It represents a fertile resource of biodiversity material which can be put in several contexts to serve citizens, students, educators, conservationists and researchers from around the world. EOLv2 offers the ability to put life on earth into meaningful contexts, allowing users to put organisms into customized collections, such as the “invasive sea creatures” collection or “endangered birds in Africa” collection or to form communities of special interests such as the “mushroom-lovers community” or the “crocodile seekers community”, etc.

The new version of EOL is accessible online for free at offering the overwhelming experience of interactively exploring the world’s known species.


Have a look at the video on YouTube!

Related Links:

EOL News

EOL History

EOL for learning and education

Arabic Collections on EOL

Join EOL now!



Last updated on 03 Oct 2013