May 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 10)
Strong Points: Many pages and images
Weak Points: Cannot browse
Give the people behind the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) credit for being ambitious. (Despite what one may think, cataloguing life on this planet is no small task!) So what exactly is an encyclopedia of life? As described on the site, the EOL is composed of “information and pictures of all species known to science”—at least, that’s the goal. While this massive undertaking is still a work in progress, the encyclopedia in its current state is anything but bare. It currently contains 1,027,982 pages, with 1,223,635 images! Visitors to the site enter the encyclopedia by typing a search term in the query field; there is no obvious way to browse the collection. On the resulting pages, one will find general information about the organism, images, maps of global distribution, related content resources, and literature citations. Life on Earth definitely comes to…well, life…on this website.