IdentifyLife and Atlas of Living Australia joint release

Botanical Congress, Media releases

photo: Leo Berzins

Posted on behalf of Lynne Sealie, Communication Manager, Atlas of Living Australia. Photos available.

The beginning of wisdom is to call a thing by its right name.” Chinese proverb

IdentifyLife is being launched at 1.00pm on Thursday 28th July at the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne.

IdentifyLife is bringing together a huge range of identification keys into a free, web-based platform for indexing, searching and building identification keys, making identifications and storing and managing descriptive data. It consists of three components:

  1. Keys Central – a searchable index of identification keys to a wide range of living creatures, from aardvarks to zooplankton.
  2. My IdentifyLife – your space for getting involved; a personal home page and collaboration space where experts and enthusiasts can contribute keys, build keys and take part in projects and discussions.
  3. A Key to All Life – is building, over time, a flexible and powerful but simple key that can be used to identify any living creature from anywhere in the world.

“With the right name, the world’s treasure trove of information, from library books to web pages, becomes accessible. If you don’t know what something’s called, you can’t find out whether it’s poisonous or harmless, common or rare, a pest or an important native.” Dr Kevin Thiele, Director of IdentifyLife said.

“As a contributor, you can create your own IdentifyLife projects, or join other people’s projects. For example, one group of users may create a list of characters for ferns, another group may build an interactive identification key to the butterflies of Australia.” Kevin Thiele, Director of IdentifyLife explained.

“The world is full of extraordinary organisms, from trees, mammals and fish to diatoms, amoebae and bacteria. The IdentifyLife project is all about helping people to identify these living organisms.” Dr Thiele continued.

IdentifyLife provides the space, and users provide the knowledge, imagination and enthusiasm to use it for their own work while sharing their work with others. Once published online, the information from IdentifyLife feeds into the Atlas of Living Australia, an online encyclopedia of Australian biodiversity.” said Donald Hobern, Director of the Atlas of Living Australia.

Funding and support for IdentifyLife has come principally from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Encyclopedia of Life, the Atlas of Living Australia and the University of Queensland.

For interviews or further information, please contact Lynne Sealie at, Kevin Thiele at or Donald Hobern at

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