Encyclopedia of Life

What is New?

The Encyclopedia of Life version 3 (EOL v3) you are using now contains the same sort of biodiversity information we hosted in the previous version, but the web platform and data services it is built on have been almost entirely reengineered and updated to modern standards. Users of the previous site will notice major differences in how the site looks and how you use it. But one thing hasn't changed - we're as committed as ever to working with our partners to gather, curate and share knowledge about life on Earth with you.

Mobile First

As you would expect in 2019, approximately half of our visitors reach the EOL web portal through a mobile device. To make their experience the best it can be we have styled most of the pages to be mobile-first using modern responsive design techniques. Whether you are using EOL on a mobile phone, a tablet or a desktop computer, we want it to look and work great.

During the beta test period, we have optimized the website for the Google Chrome browser. After we have implemented changes uncovered through testing, we will optimize the experience for all popular modern browsers.

Structured Data

In the last few years our users have expressed an interest in biodiversity data like body size, habitat preference, seasonality, color and so on. This information - which we refer to as traits - supports research efforts as well as the curiosity of learners

We also learned that structuring this information in EOL more effectively can also make biodiversity much easier to discover. You will find more structured data on our taxon page overviews, in great detail in the data tabs, and you can crawl it using our advanced search tools.

Like all EOL content, these data are sourced from providers all over the world. Each record comes with detailed provenance information including bibliographic citations and/or web links, so you can trace it to the source. Happy exploring!

New Functionality

  • The EOL Forum: Discussions related to EOL and its content are now supported on an integrated forum - discuss.eol.org - where you can begin or join a forum thread about a particular species from its EOL species page and discuss other topics.
  • The EOL Open Data Portal: Data files that partner projects and individual users need for their work are made available for download at opendata.eol.org.
  • EOL Data Services: On launch the "classic" EOL APIs for taxonomic information and media will continue to be supported. An API for trait and other structured data is in alpha testing; it currently requires authentication. Please contact Jen Hammock for access. Structured data results from the data search page will be available to logged in users.
  • The EOL Dynamic Hierarchy: EOL content is now taxonomically organized under a single Dynamic Hierarchy curated by EOL staff. This classification relies on a suite of classification providers for different branches and layers of the tree of life. The Dynamic Hierarchy can also be manually patched and curated as needed; for instance, as updates are suggested by our expert community. Other classifications are also displayed on EOL for comparison, including those of major providers like the Catalog of Life, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)

Migrating Content to the New Version of EOL

In addition to traits and other structured data, nearly all of our image holdings have been re-harvested into EOLv3. We are working on bringing in articles, videos and sound files, and will make an announcement on the EOL Forum when they are available.

For Previous Users of EOL

If you had an EOL account before, it has been saved for migration to this new version of EOL. For security purposes, you will need to reset your password, but all your other user information will be imported. Your curation activity, contributed articles and Collections will also be imported into EOLv3; please check the status report to see what is ready.

New curation tools will be activated early in 2019. However, EOL no longer supports the direct addition of text to the EOL platform. We encourage our authors to join specialist communities among our content partners, who can provide content curation tools suitable to your area of expertise. If there is no existing platform in your subject area, we have established a mediawiki interface to support new biodiversity content development communities.