Thursday, May 10, 2007

TED launches a new super encyclopedia

Not sure whether this is directly related to the view that Wikipedia is not the greatest thing ever, one of the founders described it as "broken beyond repair" (sorry, I can't remember where I read that), but a new on-line super encyclopaedia focusing on the creatures of the earth is to be launched.

Anyway, this is from the press release:

Many of the world’s leading scientific institutions today announced the launch of the Encyclopedia of Life, an unprecedented global effort to document all 1.8 million named species of animals, plants, and other forms of life on Earth. For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens will have multi-media access to all known living species, even those that have just been discovered.

The big difference with this EoL and Wikipedia, other than the focussed remit, is that, in the interests of accuracy, this won't be a wiki but an expert authored resource, albeit with a larger number of experts than might have been the case in the past. In this fashion it hopes to avoid the damage to reputation that the unscrupulous "false" editors have wrought upon Wikipedia. Is this tacit recognition of the problems with wikis? That they allow anyone, credible or not, to "interfere" with the efforts of genuine experts?

Whatever the case, I think that this will be a great resource for learning that truly rocks. It's not actually up and running yet - it was only first discussed in March, but some mock-ups are available. Have a look at the Encyclopaedia of Life here.

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