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ZooBank is an open access website intended to be the official International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) registry of zoological nomenclature.[1] It was officially proposed in 2005 by the executive secretary of ICZN.[2][3] The registry was live on 10 August 2006 with 1.5 million species entered.[4][5]

Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs) are used as the globally unique identifier for ZooBank registration entries. [6]

The ZooBank prototype was seeded with data from Index to Organism Names, which was compiled from the scientific literature in Zoological Record now owned by Thomson Reuters.

The first ZooBank LSIDs were issued on 1 January 2008,[6] precisely 250 years after 1 January 1758, which is the date defined by the ICZN Code as the official start of scientific zoological nomenclature. Chromis abyssus was the first species entered into the ZooBank system with a timestamp of 2008-01-01T00:00:02.[7][8][9]


Four main types of data objects are stored in ZooBank. Nomenclatural acts are governed by the ICZN Code of Nomenclature, and are typically "original descriptions" of new scientific names, however other acts, such as emendations and lectotypifications, are also governed by the ICZN code and are accepted by ZooBank. Publications include journal articles and other publications containing Nomenclatural Acts. Authors records the academic authorship of Nomenclatural Acts. Type Specimens record the biological type specimens of animals which are provisionally registered, until the bodies responsible for such types implement their own registries.

In addition to those, periodicals which have published articles are also entities within the system, providing access to a list of "Nomenclatural Acts" published in the periodical over time.


  1. ^ Chillingworth, Mark (10 April 2006). "Zoologists bank on database". Information World Review. Archived from the original on 12 April 2006. 
  2. ^ Polaszek, Andrew (22 September 2005). "A universal register for animal names". Nature 437 (477): 477. doi:10.1038/437477a. PMID 16177765. 
  3. ^ Yoon, Carol Kaesuk (11 October 2005). "ESSAY; In the Classification Kingdom, Only the Fittest Survive". New York Times. 
  4. ^ "60 Seconds: Zoo surfing" (NEW SCIENTIST FULL ONLINE ACCESS IS EXCLUSIVE TO SUBSCRIBERS). New Scientist (2565). 19 August 2006. 
  5. ^ Biodiverse MySpace? Online Encyclopedia To Name All Species
  6. ^ a b Pyle, Richard L.; Michel, Ellinor (2008). "ZooBank: Developing a nomenclatural tool for unifying 250 years of biological information" (PDF). Zootaxa (1950): 39–50. 
  7. ^ "Pea-Sized Seahorse Makes 'Top 10 Species' List". LiveScience. 22 May 2009. 
  8. ^ Pyle, Richard L. "Chromis abyssus Pyle, Earle & Greene, 2008". Encyclopedia of Life. 
  9. ^ "Chromis abyssus Pyle, Earle & Greene 2008". ZooBank. 

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