FEATURES OF THE EOLSS

There is a growing need for a knowledge source that presents authoritative, comprehensive, and integrated approaches to the science, technology, and management of natural and human resources necessary for life support. The use of essential natural resources or natural environment capital must be orchestrated and enhanced through human engineering efforts to ensure that the resulting resources are ecologically sustainable. The EOLSS is being developed to meet these needs. The EOLSS is designed to:

Contain a thematic presentation of knowledge in a manner that will be helpful for the development of initial, as well as long term, understanding of relevant multidisciplinary aspects of life support systems.  

Include comprehensive coverage of the subject matter, from its origin to the present state-of-the-art with discussions of significant contemporary advances and future perspectives.  

Provide a lucid, pedagogical, and authoritative presentation of data, information, and knowledge that will be of value for scientific, engineering, management, and policy making purposes in these areas, as well as for technology transfer across nations and regions of the world with broadly divergent social and cultural outlooks.

Present a detailed description and analysis of essential life support systems.

Discuss sustainable development and global security issues as they apply to essential life support systems.

Elucidate the knowledge foundations needed for development of these resources in such a way that they are suitable for self study, through presentations of overview and specific contributions in each Subject Domain.

To be especially useful for those with diverse needs in Natural and Social Sciences, Humanities, Technology, Engineering, Systems Management, and Policy Analysis.

 To provide comprehensive data, information, and knowledge concerning contemporary life support issues of Global Sustainable Development, essential life support systems, and an integration of the knowledge base of Natural and Social Sciences, Engineering and Technology, and Humanities referred to here as Knowledge Foundations.
 
To provide an appropriate knowledge base, enriched with ethics and cultural perspectives of all parts of the globe, to inspire: nations, governments, leaders, and the peoples. The contributions to the Encyclopedia come from a broad spectrum of well-known experts from leading academic and research institutions, professional organizations, legislative government agencies, private enterprises, and policy planning bodies throughout the world.


 The EOLSS is designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of users - from the merely curious to those seeking in-depth knowledge. To satisfy these, the EOLSS Contents have the following characteristics:
 

    Popular appeal - by providing widely understandable perspective presentations.
    Educational relevance - through presentations that emphasize knowledge principles, or fundamentals, and their applications.

    Professional utility - through descriptions of knowledge practices and their applications.

    Research relevance - through presentation of knowledge principles that are of general value to specialists who wish to undertake study in related subjects.

    Future and policy orientation - through provision of knowledge perspectives that are useful for obtaining forecasts of trends in science, technology, and social programs.

This is the first publicly available version on-line Encyclopedia. It contains about 25 million words, equivalent to about 50,000 standard pages,and several thousand Tables, Graphics, Boxes and Photographs. It is formally released at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002. The EOLSS will mature to its full size of about 70 million words (equivalent to about 150 volumes) through regular editions and updates thus creating a developing and dynamic library.

There are five major target audiences for the EOLSS:

    University/College students (undergraduates and graduates) who wish to introduce themselves to a particular subject in the life support systems either by self-study or formal lecture participation.
    Educators interested in the subject areas of the EOLSS and who wish to prepare a comprehensive coverage of these subjects for lecture and seminar presentations.

    Professional practitioners and informed specialists who wish to refresh and update their knowledge, and to relate their knowledge to applications and subjects transcending their own specialization.

    Research personnel who wish to inform themselves about innovations and new approaches to problem solving.

    Policy analysts, managers, and decision makers in the public and private sectors, including development officials and non-governmental organizations, who wish to equip themselves with the technical and systems management knowledge required to incorporate science and technology in their decision-making.

The EOLSS is intended to be the literary equivalent of an expert advisor, a sophisticated expert system, which can be used to summarize the state-of-the-art in subject domains, identify formal knowledge principles, relevant knowledge practices and likely future perspectives, and suggest additional sources of relevant material. In this way, the EOLSS may be regarded as a source of carefully organized knowledge and not just a provider of raw information and data.

See also: Global Crisis and Sustainable Development: The Inspiration For The EOLSS


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