With 1.8 million named species out there, it's nearly impossible to categorize them all into one neat catalogue. Nevertheless, that's not stopping the guys over at The Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, Marine Biological Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, and Biodiversity Heritage Library who have all banned together to launch the Encyclopedia of Life , which hopes to document all 1.8 million species on their state-of-the-art website.
A $10 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and $2.5 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation got the project off the ground, and scientists and conservationists alike hope that the Encyclopedia of Life will ultimately serve as a global beacon for biodiversity and conservation. With an intense development that will take place over the next 10 years, the website will not only catalogue what we already know to exist in the natural world, but hopefully expedite the process of discovering and naming as yet unknown and undiscovered species. Each page for each specimen, housed at http://www.eol.org, will contain written descriptions and, when available, photographs, video, sound, location maps, and other multimedia information. The site will be reputed but thousands of experts all over the world, giving it the scientific integrity and backing it needs to succeed. The Encyclopedia of Life will be a moderated wiki-style environment, freely available to all users everywhere.
As quickly as species are becoming endangered and/or extinct, this is a project that needs all the support it can get. See their pitch video below:
Inventor Spot Team