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Site Review: Encyclopedia of Life

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Content: The Encyclopedia of Life is an online project chronicling every single named plant, animal, fungus and microorganism species on earth. While currently a work in progress, the goal is to create a detailed Web page for each species.

Design: The EOL favors substance over style; users won’t find flashy animation or crazy layouts here. Instead, visitors get quality scientific information, presented in an easy-to-digest package that doesn’t overwhelm the senses.

EOLReview: The EOL team has begun a focused effort to assemble rich content of particular interest to the average user. Experts work to find out which organisms have an immediate impact on humans. These include commercially valuable species, invasive pests and disease organisms as well as popular ornamental plants, newly discovered species, and plants and animals on which we rely for food.

While only a few years old, the site boasts an impressive collection of scientific data this far. Users can find information on all sorts of living things, and that list is growing, thanks to a dedicated community of users and experts. Nothing makes it to the live site without going through a vetting process, however. This is what separates EOL from other crowd-sourced information hubs like Wikipedia.

Bottom Line: Once completed, the Encyclopedia of Life will be one of the most impressive destinations on the Internet. As a work in progress, it is a valuable tool for any science teacher.


Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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