micro*scope, http://microscope.mbl.edu, is a communal website that promotes information on the biodiversity of microbes. It includes images, descriptions and taxonomic classifications of microorganisms—both prokaryotic and eukaryotic. The content of the website is freely available for educational use. It currently features almost 11,000 images!

Content - Structure - Find Information - Terminology

Inside micro*scope

  1. Images: micro*scope currently contains almost 11,000 images of microbes - prokaryotic and eukaryotic. All images are freely available for educational use.
    • A download button on each organism (asset) page allows you to access larger files of the image (e.g. TIFF, PDF) for use in presentations and reports.
  2. Collections: When possible, each image is placed into a collection of similar images.
  3. Descriptions: All organism (asset) pages in micro*scope are accompanied with two types of descriptions. The description to the right of the image is a general description of the taxa—usually at the genus level. The description below the image is specific to only that image. It includes information about the organism, as well as where it can be found, what type of microscopy was used, name of the individual that contributed the image, and more.
  4. Classification: Below the image on the left-hand side is a link to the underlying CU*STAR database. Clicking on the link will pull up the taxonomic classification for this particular organism.
  5. Link*outs: These links appear on the right-hand side of the page and direct users to other informational pages about this organism. Clicking on the Ward's link, for example, will direct you to educational resources offered by Ward's Natural Science. The NCBI link will direct you to taxa-specific molecular data, PubMed will pull up related literature, and so on.
  6. Screensavers: There are currently 4 sets of microbial screensavers available. They may be downloaded from the micro*scope home page under News.
    • various microbes from the Microbial Life digital library
    • marine microbes brought to you by the International Census of Marine Microbes
    • microbes from extreme habitats brought to you by the NASA Astrobiology Institute
    • microbial imagery from the Bay Paul Center.
  7. Glossary: A dynamic, image-rich glossary of protistology, microscopy, and general microbiology terms is accessible via the left-hand navigation menu.

micro*scope Structure

micro*scope structure

micro*scope has a hierarchical structure. There are databases that contain images, names, classifications, and descriptions of organisms. These pieces of information are joined together to form web pages about the organisms. One type of page emphasizes an image with a caption, organism name, name of parent collection, a description of the organism, link*outs, downloadable images, a button that will allow you to make comments. A second type of page emphasizes the classification. The contents are grouped together in collections - each usually coming from a different contributor. Collections are then organized by concept. This structure allows visitors to find information either by typing a name into a search box, or by browsing by concept (or alphabetically or by the classification scheme). Browsing allows you to make increasingly refined choices about which assets you want to see. The site is also assembling an illustrated glossary which can be accessed through the search button in the left hand menu bar.

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Finding Information in micro*scope

There are many ways to find information in micro*scope. If you know what you want, use the search functions - either on the home page or in the left-hand menu bar. Browse allows you to navigate progressively towards information of interest. You may browse organisms alphabetically by genus name, by taxonomic classification, and/or by recent additions to the website. You can also browse through the collections using an alphabetical listing or by concept.

Search micro*scope by using the search button on the top of the page or by the left-hand navigation bar. You may search for the names of organisms within the micro*scope website and its underlying classification structure, or search for keywords in the glossary.

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micro*scope Terminology

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