From news @ nature.com: work has begun on what is to be a comprehensive Encyclopedia of Life. Estimated “final” contents: multimedia presentations on 2 million species. Estimated time to completion: 10 years. The web portal is online now.
The sample pages are intriguing, particularly the weird slider on the sidebar that runs from “novice” to “expert” – apparently it filters the information presented depending on how deep the user wants to go. It looks as though it will be possible to browse through the tree of life, which is essential.
Hard to say how valuable this will actually be – certainly it looks like a good source for elementary science term papers, but will it actually be useful for basic research? What I would want (and what is maybe there but not visible in the sample interface) is easy connections to the primary literature (Google Scholar?) and public gene or protein sequence data.