Species Site Overwhelmed by Traffic on Opening Day

Encyclopedia of Life will eventually describe all 1.8M species on Earth
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 3:15 PM CST
A screen capture of the immediately popular Encyclopedia of Life, which quickly crashed on its first day of a public unveiling, organizers said.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – A much-anticipated web encyclopedia of all Earth’s life forms crashed hours after its launch yesterday, inundated by traffic. The Encyclopedia of Life had 11.5 million hits in its first 5½ hours—including 2 hours down—leading the site’s founders to ask their opposites at Wikipedia for bandwidth tips. EOL plans to have a page for each of the 1.8 million species, the AP reports.

“We’re thrilled,” said founding chairman Jesse Ausubel about the traffic, adding that the poisonous death cap mushroom had been the most popularly searched species thus far. The site already has 30,000 live pages—some of them more detailed “exemplar pages”—and 1 million placeholders. The entries have thus far been written by scientists but will eventually be open for public submissions.