PS 82-84 - Developing tools and applications to visualize, manage and disseminate biodiversity information

Friday, August 12, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Marie Studer, Encyclopedia of Life, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
* This is a a non-traditional research study 


The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL; is a collaborative effort to gather and share information about every species and make it freely available on-line. Authoritative information is provided by vetted content partners and individuals. EOL strives to provide tools and services to the scientific community, citizen scientists, educators and the general public focusing on the management, dissemination and visualization of biological information. By making available an Application Programming Interface (API) and exemplar tools and services to demonstrate the ability to utilize information from EOL for external projects users will be able to: (a) build upon or modify these tools or services for their own purposes or (b) use the EOL API to develop their own tools and services that utilize content from EOL and enhance their research or educational activities. 


Our objective is to promote the use of the EOL API and other applications ( as a way to embed the functionality of EOL into biodiversity research, education and citizen science websites, tools and services.  The EOL is an open access collection. All information shared with EOL must also be shared under a creative commons license. All software is open source and can be used or modified.

The API has been used in EOL led projects such as the Field Guide Tool (; (management and dissemination of species content) and the Species Visualization Tool,;  (visualization of ecological interactions). The API has also been utilized by other projects to access and use specific information from EOL for research and formal and informal learning purposes. Through additional use and feedback the API will continue to be improved and will result in increased use and the development of tools available to visualize, access and manipulate biodiversity related information.

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Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.