The Atavism

Monday, August 24, 2009

Link taxonomic names on any website to the Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life is a project aimed at compiling information on each of the 1.8 million species that scientists have so far described and making that information available to students, scientists and anyone that wants to know a bit more about life on earth. The project is now a couple of years old (I actually wrote about its launch here) and is starting to build up information and some pretty cool tools to get at that information.

Earlier this month the EoL released NameLink, a service that searches a web-page for taxonomic names and then adds links to from those names to their records in various taxonomic databases. At present the only way for a user to get those links to show up is to copy page's url, surf over to the NameLink page and paste it into their handy form. Which is fine, but I am very lazy so I wanted to be able to add the links while I was reading a page, thankfully the EoL include an API for NameLink that made it very easy to write a ubiquity command and some bookmarklets that allow me to be as lazy as I want.

If you have ubiquity installed you can follow this link and install the "taxonomize" command or you can drag the following links on to you bookmarks toolbar to get commands that will add links the EoL and the The Global Biodiversity Information Facility with a single click:

EoL Taxonomize! GBIF Taxonomize!

The ubiquity command allows you to choose which database to link to by providing one of the following abbreviations after the taxonomise command:

col: Catalogue of Life
eol: Encyclopedia of Life
gbif: Global Biodiversity Information Facility
gni: Global Names Index
itis: Integrated Taxonomic Information System
namebank: uBio Namebank

The commands in action

Once you have your have a command or a bookmarklet ready to go then next time you find yourself reading a page rich in taxonomic names like this post on Dechronization about anole hunting in Haiti you'll be able to use the command to get to this page which has all the species names linked:

From which point new information on the handsomely dewlapped Anolis distichys venosus is just a click away

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Posted by David Winter 11:37 AM


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