About the EoE


June 12, 2012, 12:43 pm
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Please follow the suggestions in this section as closely as possible. They've been designed to give the Encyclopedia a unified "look and feel" and to ensure that its contents are accessible to a general audience.

In General...

  • Be sure your intended topic fits the aims and scope of the Encyclopedia of Earth as described in the Scope of the Encyclopedia of Earth
  • SEARCH your topic first to be sure that your intended topic hasn't been covered already
  • Determine whether a new article on a separate page is justified. Sometimes it is better to add information to an existing article on a related topic.
  • Choose your article name carefully. The name is important for the SEARCH function, for effective linking to other articles, and to your article's appropriate placement in the Encyclopedia
  • Feel free to create links to other articles within the EoE from your article, even to articles that don't exist yet. If you mention a term in your article that you think needs explanation, add a link, then run a SEARCH to see if anyone's done an article on it that you can link to.
  • It's best to work directly on the website. But if you must, you can write the initial article in Word then copy-and-paste it into the text box. (CAUTION: Best to paste into the Source code, lest extraneous hypertext pollute the page)
  • If the whole technology thing is way over your head, just write the article then email it to the Managing Editor.

Publishing Content

  • Topic Editors have the sole privilege to publish content. Authors, interns, volunteers, etc. cannot publish content.
  • A TE cannot publish content for which he/she is an author.


Naming Conventions

  • Case is significant in page names. The first letter of all titles should be capitalized and all other letters should be lower case. UNLESS a term (such as a name) is normally capitalized.
  • Be as precise as possible regarding the subject of your article. For example, if your article is about breeder reactors, do not title it 'Nuclear energy.'
  • When an article pertains to a specific geographic location, the name of the country should be added to the end of the title. For instance, London smog disaster, England and Price-Anderson Act of 1957, United States.
  • Avoid acronyms in titles unless the term is almost exclusively known by its acronym (for example, laser or scuba).
  • Avoid articles (the, an, a) at the beginning of article names.
  • Avoid using non alpha-numeric characters (" # $ * + < > = @ [ ] \ ^ ` { } | ~.) for emphasis within your article. Many of these characters are special formatting codes and are likely to produce unwanted results. Instead, use bold, italics, and underlining.

Audience Level

  • The level of writing should target a well informed general audience—people who think about the world around them, including the environment, and who expand their understanding with reading. A freshman or sophomore undergraduate college students should be able to comprehend your article.  However, our audience does range from high school graduate to Ph.D level readers. They are intelligent people, but they may know little about the subject matter on which they seek information. Their ages will range from young students all the way up to octogenarians. The level of writing should fall somewhere between that found in a good newspaper (e.g. NY Times, LA Times) and that found in a good general encyclopedia (e.g. Encyclopedia Britannica).
  • Avoid needless jargon, and explain any jargon that you must use. Remember that the EoE is heavily used by a general audience. When you can't avoid jargon, make it the occasion for a contribution—write an article explaining terms of thermodynamics, policy analysis, climatology, and so on.

Article Format

  • The first sentence of an article should give a succinct definition of the article's topic.
  • Use headings and subheadings in the "Format" scroll down bar to organize your article.
  • Avoid in-text references (e.g., "Smith 2007") within an article.
  • Include a "Further Reading" section at the end of your entry. Wherever possible, include links to the resource itself.
  • The minimum article length is 250 words. We recommend articles be somewhere around 1,000 words. The maximum size is 32 kilobytes, or about 5,000 words, not including images, figures, and graphs.
  • International System of Units (SI) are recommended.
  • The technical and mathematical details should be limited to that necessary for making your most fundamental points. Remember, the Encyclopedia is intended to reach a broad audience.

Article Length

While the parameters of the topic itself should determine the proper length of an article, please consider the following limitations:

  • The minimum article length is 250 words. If you want to start an article for others to continue but you find yourself writing fewer then 250 words, place a comment at the top of the article stating something like "This is a stub, feel free to add”
  • The maximum size is 32,000 characters (roughly 5,000 words) not including images, figures, and graphs. While this character maximum is derived from limits that some browsers set for the number of characters they allow in a text box, it's still a reasonable upper limit on document length. The software will alert users when this limit has been reached.
  • However, the recommended size for articles is approximately 1,000 words. With the ability to hyperlink terms and ideas, detailed explanations can be discussed in their own articles.

Article Depth

  • EoE permits highly specialized articles. A digital, perpetual, online, and collectively managed resource such as this one is largely free of the space constraints placed on the production of paper volumes. There is no reason to place limitations on acceptable article topics based purely on the level of specialization. The only reason to refuse to create an article on a too-specialized topic is that the community cannot be expected to create and manage articles on other topics of a similar level of specialization.
  • Let articles on subtopics elaborate the details. When, in composing an article, you find that you are elaborating on some specialized topic (call it a "subtopic") incidental to your article's main idea, save the specialized details of the subtopic for its own article. The only details about a subtopic that you need mention in the main article are those necessary to the elaboration of the main article's topic. Each article should be self-contained, however, which means that some subtopics will need substantial elaboration.

First Sentence

  • The first sentence of an article should give a succinct definition of the article's topic. The article titled 'Energy quality' presents an excellent example: "Energy Quality refers to differences in the ability of a unit of energy to produce goods and services for people."
  • When writing a description about a specific object, the first sentence of the article should state why that person, place, or thing is notable. For example, the biography of Niels Bohr leads with: "Niels Henrik David Bohr (1885-1962) was a Danish physicist who identified the fundamental structure of atoms and quantum mechanics."


Source Material for Your Article

We do not expect authors to write all new original material for the Encyclopedia, nor do we expect you to re-invent the wheel with basic material that is essential but that has been written about extensively already. Thus, to the fullest extent possible, you should use material that you or others have already prepared, subject to any applicable copyright restrictions. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Use material for which you own the copyright. This might be material developed for your class, lectures, consulting, reports, other web sites, and so on, for which you retain the copyright.
  2. Extract material from one or more previous works, including your own, whose copyright rests with another party, and use it in your article in such a way that constitutes fair use under U.S copyright law. Fair use allows scholars, researchers and others to use protected works for socially productive purposes without seeking permission.
  3. Revise, update, extend, shorten, enhance or otherwise modify an existing work of yours whose copyright rests with another party to such an extent that it qualifies as a new work that is no longer bound by that copyright.
  4. Obtain permission from the copyright holder to use material in the Encyclopedia, such as a journal article or book chapter for which you surrendered copyrights to the publisher.
  5. Write new material from scratch.

Please be aware that you retain the right to use your Encyclopedia entry in other publishing efforts. All content in the EoE is governed by the Creative Commons license known as "Attribution-Share Alike." This license permits anyone (including yourself) to (1) copy, distribute, and display your work, (2) work, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, and to make commercial use of your work, subject to these conditions:

a. Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.

b. Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.

Note that the Share Alike condition acts as a disincentive for commercial operations to try to profit from your work: the most recent, reliable copy of the work will always reside with Encyclopedia. This follows directly from the Encyclopedia's editorial policy that specifically encourages collaborators working on the Encyclopedia to update each other's articles. Hence, the continuously-edited version of the article that appears in the Encyclopedia will be the community's in a robust sense.

Editing the taxonomy

  • Changes to the taxonomy of the EoE can only be made by a Topic Editor, and should be done only after discussion with other Topic Editors assigned to that topic.
  • As a general rule, new topics should be added to the taxonomy only when there is significant content that will be tagged to that topic (i.e., avoid topics that have "blank" landing pages).

Writing Your User Profile

We encourage all users to upload a short biography and photo of themselves for their user profile. After you've created your profile as described below, a link to your user page (and to your profile) appears in the list of authors in alphabetic order and is automatically associated with any articles you create.

TIP: Open a new browser page so that you can keep these instructions open as you create your biography.

  • To get to your user page and to write your user profile:
  1. Click on your name in the top right.
    Your user page opens.
  2. Click Extended Profile and scroll to the bottom where it says “A few words about me”
  3. Enter your biography.
    You can also copy your biography from another source and paste it into the editing window.
    • Your user profile should be at least a 150 word paragraph and includes the basic information one would expect in a biographical sketch, i.e., education, job experiences, awards, interests, and so on. A link to a full CV or resume is also encouraged. Because your user profile will be viewable by the public, include only that information which you feel comfortable being seen by everyone.
  4. Add a good image of yourself by clicking the Browse button next to the Photo field.
  5. As to your comfort level, fill in the remaining information.
  6. Click UPDATE below the editing window. ·      

Editing Basics

Find an article to edit: You are welcome to edit and add to ANY article on a topic in which you have experience. To find articles either use the search function (located top right) or browse through existing.

Start editing: Click the EDIT button. You will end up on the editing page for the article. Any text that's been written appears in an editing window. Simply make desired changes to the text and formatting in the box.

Summarize your changes: You should write a short edit summary in the PUBLISHING NOTES section below the edit-box. You may use shorthand to describe your changes. It's especially important to do so if you're editing someone else's article.

Save your work: Click the “Submit” button.  This simply saves the article – it doesn’t actually send it anywhere until you click REQUEST REVIEW.

Author's Box

Each article has an Author's Box at the top stating the authors, topic editors, and topics associated with the article. The Author's Box can by edited by clicking on the EDIT button. To put in the names of the contributors simply start typing their name a drop down menu should appear with their name.  Simply click on it to add it. To place the article into a specific topic scroll down below the edit box and check the box next to the topics that apply.  Add as many topics as you think apply.

The topic editor and lead author positions can only be changed by Topic Editors.

Harvested Content Disclaimer

All articles which have been provided by Content Partners or harvested from Content Sources must have a disclaimer at the bottom stating the following:

Disclaimer: This article is taken wholly from, or contains information that was originally published by, the (organization name). Topic editors and authors for the Encyclopedia of Earth may have edited its content or added new information. The use of information from the (organization name) should not be construed as support for or endorsement by that organization for any new information added by EoE personnel, or for any editing of the original content.

Writing Tools

Here are just a few of the tools you can use to make your article more accessible to Encyclopedia readers.

Inserting Tables

There are three ways to insert a table into an article:
  1. Save the table as an image and insert it into the article.
  2. Use the table button  define the number of rows and columns, click OK.  Then add the appropriate data directly into the rows and columns.
  3. Copy a table and its associated formatting codes from an HTML source page into the editing box.

Inserting Images and Figures

Please add at least one image or figure to your article!  It enhances the article and gives a visual connection to the text.

To add the main image:

  1. Click the Edit button on the article
  2. Click Browse and select the image you would like to insert into your article. The image name should be unique and give some reference to the contents of the image allowing others to search through the file names.
  3. Click Open

To place an image into the text of your article:

1.      Click the Insert/Edit Image button

2.      Now you can either copy and paste the URL of an image from any open source website on the internet.  Simply right click that image select copy image url then paste it into the box.

3.      The other option is to add an image that is already on your computer.  Do this by clicking the Upload Image button. Click Browse, select the image you would like to upload and click Send it to the Server. Then click OK.

Importing Text from Word or HTML

Copying text from a word file and pasting the existing text into the ARTICLE BODY box is often the simplest way to start a page. Once you've done that, you can touch up the formatting to match the Encyclopedia's style conventions.





(2012). Guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbefad7896bb431f69e8bc


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