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The encyclopedia of life
Wilson, E.O. (2003). The encyclopedia of life. Trends Ecol. Evol. 18(2): 77-80.
In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Elsevier Science: Amsterdam. ISSN 0169-5347, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Databases; Taxonomy; Websites

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  • Wilson, E.O.

    Comparative biology, crossing the digital divide, has begun a still largely unheralded revolution: the exploration and analysis of biodiversity at a vastly accelerated pace. Its momentum will return systematics from its long sojourn at the margin and back into the mainstream of science. Its principal achievement will be a single-portal electronic encyclopedia of life.Imagine an electronic page for each species of organism on Earth, available everywhere by single access on command. The page contains the scientific name of the species, a pictorial or genomic presentation of the primary type specimen on which its name is based, and a summary of its diagnostic traits. The page opens out directly or by linking to other data bases, such as ARKive, Ecoport, GenBank and MORPHOBANK. It comprises a summary of everything known about the species' genome, proteome, geographical distribution, phylogenetic position, habitat, ecological relationships and, not least, its practical importance for humanity.The page is indefinitely expansible. Its contents are continuously peer reviewed and updated with new information. All the pages together form an encyclopedia, the content of which is the totality of comparative biology.

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