Chinese-language version of Encyclopedia of Life launched

 Chinese-language version of Encyclopedia of Life launched 

Chinese Academy of Sciences and Encyclopedia of Life announce Chinese-language version of free biodiversity resource

Beijing, China – July 25, 2012 – The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) and the Biodiversity Committee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (BC-CAS) announced today the launch of a brand new Chinese-language version of EOL.  Founded in 2007, EOL seeks to increase awareness and understanding of living nature by gathering, generating and sharing knowledge in an open, freely accessible and trusted digital resource. Chinese content is currently available for selected mammal, bird and fungi species, and will increase as more Chinese-language partners and users join the effort.

Collaboration between BC-CAS and EOL dates back to 2009, when both organizations signed a memorandum of understanding. However, the new Chinese EOL was developed over the past five months through close and intensive collaboration of software developers and scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the EOL biodiversity informatics team in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  The platform is fully internationalized, with interfaces and content also available in Arabic, English and Spanish.

Over the four years since its public launch, EOL has grown dramatically to now include information on more than one million species sourced from over 200 content providers. EOL is supported by a community of  curators responsible for reviewing and approving content, and by staff at contributing institutions around the world.

In addition to information on individual species and other taxonomic levels, the EOL platform allows users to gather and share information from its vast holdings as virtual collections directly on the EOL site. These collections offer a simple and user-friendly way to put life into meaningful contexts from scholarly ones such as "Salamanders of China" or "Yangtze River Benthopelagic Species" to personal collections such as "Backyard Wildlife."  The possibilities for this capability are limited only by the imagination and energy of the global EOL community.

“We were thrilled to collaborate with colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to build this platform that meets the diverse needs of our users around the world,” said Dr. Erick Mata, EOL Executive Director. “The work we have done together will serve as a model for EOL’s international infrastructure as we keep pace with the growing global demand for this online biodiversity resource.”

EOL is available both as a website and as an embedded resource to third party mobile and desktop applications. All the information EOL publishes, including access to nearly 40 million pages of scanned literature created by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, is available for reuse and is licensed under Creative Commons and other Open Access free licenses.

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) operates as an ongoing global collaboration of individuals and organizations who share the vision to provide global access to knowledge about life on Earth. EOL is supported by founding sponsors the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional support comes from EOL member institutions and donations from around the world.