Commons:Wikiproject Tree of Life/Newsletter 2007-01

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Newsletter Tree Of Life, issue 2007-01
Crystal Clear app korganizer.png Project

The project started in January 2006, and it's now February 2007. The project has grown from a single person's initiative to about 20-30 members from Europe, North & South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

In this issue I try to mention some highlights and some troubles.
In the future we may have to work with multilingual issues, at the moment I have limited myself to English, though I know many of us have problems to express themselves well in this language.

I have tried to mention some of the most common topics within ToL, and no doubt I overlooked some. I welcome your complaints at the talk page of this newsletter, hopefully together with your willingness to scrabble up some lines for the spring 2007 issue.

Talking about the next issue: I welcome your comments about the structure, topics, need to have one, frequency and contents.

Crystal Clear app korganizer.png Organization

The first year of existence also brought the first discussions. There was a fierce debate on the organization of images. The topic may well come up again.

Crystal Clear app korganizer.png Success

In one way the project is a tremendous success: commons has far outgrown the individual wikis in the number of species covered. Whichever genus I took a look at this fall, it always covered more species then I could find in any of the Wikipedias.


A major start had already been provided by the mass upload of Kurt Steuber's collection. Since then, numerous individuals both from in- and outside the project have contributed individual photographs. Several old floras have been scanned.


The digitization of a an old guide with really beautiful oil paintings has started, and I really look forward to its completion.


With an estimated number of 6-10 million species of insects in existence, we probably have one of our greatest challenges here. One of the most numerous and popular orders is the Lepidoptera. I dare note estimate the percentage of the 200.000 species which have been described, and the situation looks brightest for many of the day butterflies. It would be worth to see if we have managed to cover all species of North West Europe and North America.


There are about 5500 species of mammals worldwide. In terms of quantity, this should be one of the easiest groups to complete.


The Protista are imho our weakest area. This is not surprising: there is need for specialized equipment, and most of the worlds undiscovered species are in this area.

Fishes and other marine life

Fishes are not a monophyletic group, and the title of this group is probably wrong. I am open to suggestions. Commons has a few dedicated contributors in this area. I assume one needs specialized cameras to contribute in this area.


According to the English Wikipedia, there are about 10.000 species of birds. Surfing around, I noticed lots of high quality images.

Crystal Clear app korganizer.png Quality

Recently a quality initiative has been started. A welcome idea! The idea is to tag individual images of low quality in the galleries as "needing replacement" or "images with better replacements" or "high-quality". That way editors from the wiki can save time because they don't have to wade through a long list of low quality images.