[Taxacom] encylopedia of life

James L. Edwards jedwards at gbif.org
Thu May 10 16:29:44 CDT 2007

Donat -

The video is already there. You can find it at

Jim Edwards

> The president of MacArthur foundation announced USD50M over the next five
> years.
> 20M from MacArthur
> 30M from Sloan and the five core institutions, that breaks down to 5M
> each.
> I am trying to get the movie on youtube, but need to but it a bit so it
> fits
> so you have the chance to hear it yourself
> Donat
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Julian H [mailto:humphries at mail.utexas.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 3:46 PM
> To: Donat Agosti; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] encylopedia of life
> I read a number of different stories on this yesterday and saw widely
> varying figures on funding:
> $12.5 million USD (oneworld.net and the eol.org press release)
> $50 million pounds (BBC news)
> and now $50 million USD.
> Does anybody know for sure what their actual funding is?  Is all this
> money for informatics infrastructure, scanning, etc? Or will this
> trickle down and scientists will be paid to write accounts?  Just curious.
> At 08:31 AM 5/10/2007, Donat Agosti wrote:
>>Yesterday was the launch of the Encyclopedia of Life
>>(http://eol.org/home.html) initiative here in DC, which clearly will
>> affect
>>taxonomy and provide much better access to our well hidden knowledge
>> about
>>our species. The project as such is supported by USD50M for the next five
>>years, with a likely extension for another 5 years. It is great, that the
>>money could be raised from MacArthur Foundation (with the lion0s share),
> the
>>Sloan Foundation and support from the five core institutions, Harvard,
>> The
>>Field Museum, Smithsonian, Marin Biological Lab and Missouri Botanical
>>Garden. The idea is to have within these 10 years for each of the 1.8M
>>species its specific page.
>>In an interesting way, the participants at the official launch represent
>> -
>>at least for me - the main challenge of this the project: Getting
>> content.
> I
>>could hardly figure out any active scientist in the crowd. These are the
>>people who actually are building up content, like fishbase or antbase.
>>Populating the database is so far generally a truly bottom up movement,
> done
>>by individuals and with little support from the respective institutions.
>> >From a different angle, and also in a different time with much more
> digital
>>tools at hand, the commitment from the core institutions could signal a
>>longlasting shift in this policy, that they became aware, that building
>> up
>>species databases, their underlying catalogues, etc. are a quintessential
>>element in modern research environment, and need be supported similarily
>> to
>>maintaining libraries, GenBank, etc.
>>This in turn reflects a new development, such as the OECD declaration
>>(http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/9/61/38500813.pdf) to provide open access
>> to
>>publicly funded research data. This is again an initiative at top level
>>What is needed now is that we define the needs for our work. We need to
> talk
>>to the responsibles in these initiatives so that their decisions really
>>reflect what we need, reflect the way we operate, so part of the outcome
> the
>>EOL or OECD initiatives help us to work more efficiently, as much as it
>>provides a much higher profile for our work. We need to assure, that the
>>initiatives not only reflects the idea of the current core US
>> institutions,
>>but the needs of our colleagues in Europe or the developing world. We
>> also
>>need to assure, that initiatives such as GBIF, IABIN, are not being
>>outcompeted but rather form together a superstructure. These initiatives
> are
>>global, and thus affect all of us.
>>For example, a really important part of the project will be the
> Biodiversity
>>Heritage Library (http://www.bhl.si.edu/). Clearly, not all the works can
> be
>>digitized at once, so selection of bodies of literature should happen, to
>>support ongoing research projects and show the benefit of it. Why not
>>propose to scan all the journals with content on Madagascar, reef fishes
>> or
>>other topics, where there is a strong research and conservation community
>>Don't sit around, read, be pro-active and voice your concerns and wishes,
>>use your blogs.. It is clear, that even the 100M will not suffice to
> satisfy
>>all of our dreams, but it is clearly a jumping board into a new age.
>>Donat Agosti
>>Taxacom mailing list
>>Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Julian Humphries
> DigiMorph.Org
> Geological Sciences
> University of Texas at Austin
> Austin, TX 78712
> 512-471-3275
> _______________________________________________
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> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
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          - Jim

Dr. James L. Edwards
Executive Secretary
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Universitetsparken 15
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø

Phone:  +45 3532 1470
Fax:      +45 3532 1480

E-mail:   jedwards at gbif.org
URL:      www.gbif.org

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