Monday, May 14, 2007

Encyclopedia of Life - The world's knowledge about plants and animals

It was so exciting to read in the Daily Telegraph,
Thursday 10th May, 2007, about the launch of
the Encyclopedia of Life - The whole story of life
on Earth to go online at:

The aim is to list 1.8m known species and animals
and other forms of life, and the project could take
another 10 years to complete. So far, £30 million
has been pledged in grants from charitable foundations
and academic institutions to complete it. The design
looks very good.

From a knowledge management perspective, I am
very interested in the collaborative effort to achieve this.
No doubt, some inspiration has come from the wikipedia
initiative to demonstrate radically new ways to
collectively create new knowledge.

The Encyclopedia of Life website says:

"Comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and
personalized, the Encyclopedia of Life is an ecosystem
of websites that makes all key information about life
on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. "

I do particularly like the reference to an 'ecosystem of
websites'. I think that there is much we can do to further
develop more natural knowledge ecologies. It's also
interesting to see that the information and knowledge
will be with contributions from scientists and amateurs
alike. So I imagine an academic 'peer review' process
acting together with 'wikipedia like' capturing of new
learnings, ideas and insights?

Dr Richard Lane, the Natural History Museum's director
of science said:

" It is a monumental project that will open up the world's
knowledge about plants and animals we share the planet

I am sure that the Encyclopedia of Life is the start of an
exciting trend in global knowledge management initiatives
for the good of all on Planet Earth.

Ron Young

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