26 August 2009

Encyclopedia of Life flickr group: share YOUR photos of Singapore wildlife

The massive on-line Encyclopedia of Life has 170,000 entries and lots of exciting ways for ordinary people to participate and contribute to the effort.

Join the Encyclopedia of Life flickr group to upload your photos of Singapore wildlife! The Encyclopedia also has a blog!

Started in 2007, and likely to cost $100 million, the aim is for anyone from scientists to schoolchildren to use the Encyclopedia of Life as a "field guide" or contribute a photograph or an observation of an animal in an area where it was not found before, in some cases a sign of a changing climate.

The Encyclopedia dedicates a Web page to each known species and will eventually contain 1.8 million pages.

One problem is that 20,000 new species are described every year -- and estimates of the number of species on the planet range up to 100 million.

With EOL now fully open to receive information from both specialists and the public, some 250 experts, including taxonomists, conservation biologists, graduate students and others, along with more than 1,200 citizen scientists, have already stepped forward to volunteer images, share data, or to write or curate pages.

The Encyclopedia is already helping scientists to better understand climate change and other issues of the day.

I tried adding some photos to the flickr group. It's as simple as adding to any other flickr group. But do note that the group has requirements for the kind of licence of your photo, and you need to add machine tags to your photos. There's an easy-to-follow tutorial on how to do this. If the machine tags are driving you nuts, there's a (long) thread on the group discussion forum on the issue. I had no problems adding the machine tags.

Here's the full rules for joining the Encyclopedia of Life flickr group
If you agree to these rules, you can join the group

A computer program will examine photos in this pool and will attempt to harvest and display at the Encyclopedia of Life (http://www.eol.org) images that have the following characteristics:

The image is public.

The image is licensed with one of the following licenses:
- Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)
- Creative Commons Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC)
- Creative Commons Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA)
- Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)

The image has at least one machine tag with a scientific name: e.g.
"taxonomy:binomial=Corvus brachyrhynchos"
Other machine tags are encouraged.

Images that don't meet these criteria will not make it to EOL. See the group description and discussion for help.

You may submit as many images you like
Please choose only your best photos of each organism, and submit more than one image only if it adds something new. Examples of something new could be 1) a new part of or variation in the organism that hasn't been pictured, 2) a different sex or life stage, 3) a new place the organism may be found, 4) a new behavior or habitat for the organism.

If you're having problems with checking to make sure you've complied with these requirements, you can check out the awesome QC tool that Paul J Morris shared in this post in the discussions on the flickr EOL group.

More articles about the Encyclopedia of Life

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