The Zoological Record

The Zoological Record (ZR) is an electronic index of zoological literature that also serves as the unofficial register of scientific names in zoology.

The Zoological Record
ProducerClarivate Analytics
History1865 – present
ProvidersClarivate Analytics, Ovid Technologies, Dialog, ProQuest, EBSCO Information Services
Temporal coverage1864 – present
No. of recordsover 3,500,000
Print edition
Print titleThe Zoological Record
Print dates1864–2016
Title list(s)

It was started as a print publication in 1864 by the Zoological Society of London, as The Record of Zoological Literature, and changed its name to the Zoological Record in 1870. From 1980 to 2004, the ZR was published by BIOSIS, from 2004 to 2016 it was published by Thomson Reuters, and from 2016 to the present it has been published by Clarivate Analytics. The print version ceased in 2016, but the publication continues as an electronic index.[1]


In 1864, Albert Günther and a group of zoologists associated with the British Museum and the Zoological Society came together to begin work on The Record of Zoological Literature, the first volume of which was published in 1865 by John Van Voorst, covering zoological literature that had been published in 1864. This work was intended to be an English language counterpart to the German language zoological index Archiv für Naturgeschichte, but without the Archiv's publication delays. After the first six volumes were published, Van Voorst withdrew as publisher due to a lack of profits from the work. Concerned zoologists then formed the Zoological Association and published volumes 7–22 (1870–1885) as the Zoological Record. In 1886, the Zoological Association passed the publication duties on to the Zoologial Society. In 1900 a competing publication, the International Catalogue of Scientific Literature, began publication. Section N of the Catalogue was intended to cover zoology, which caused subscription losses for the Zoological Record despite reviews stating that the Zoological Record was a superior publication. However, after negotiations, the Zoological Record itself became section N of the Catalogue. This arrangement ended with the advent of World War I.[2]

In 1980, the Zoological Society of London joined forces with BIOSIS to co-produce the Zoological Record. This co-production helped get rid of the three year lag in the publication of the index by instituting a "catch up" program to bring The Zoological Record up-to-date. This program was completed in 1988.[3] In January 2001, BIOSIS partnered with Cambridge Scientific Abstracts to produce a related database, Zoological Record Plus, which included abstracts from the Biological Sciences database produced by CSA.[4] February 2004 saw the acquisition of BIOSIS by Thomson ISI, again changing the producer of The Zoological Record.[5] Following the merger of Thomson and Reuters, Zoological Record was produced by Thomson Reuters. As of 2016, it is published by Clarivate Analytics in electronic format only.


The Zoological Record began coverage of different phyla in different years,[2] and as phyla have changed in both name and classification over time, the sections covering those phyla have also changed. What follows is a list of the phyla covered in the Zoological Record for different years:

1865[6] 1900[7] 1968[2] 2007
1. Mammalia 1. General Subjects 1. Comprehensive zoology 1. Comprehensive zoology
2. Aves 2. Mammalia 2. Protozoa 2. Protozoa
3. Reptilia 3. Aves 3. Porifera 3. Porifera & Archaeocyatha
4. Pisces 4. Reptilia & Batrachia 4. Coelenterata 4. Coelenterata & Ctenophora
5. Mollusca 5. Pisces 5. Echinodermata 5. Echinodermata
6. Molluscoida 6. Tunicata 6. Vermes 6A. Platyhelminthes & Nematoda etc.
7. Crustacea 7. Mollusca 7. Brachiopoda 6B. Annelida & Miscellaneous minor phyla
8. Arachnida 8. Brachiopoda 8. Bryozoa 6C. Conodonta & Fossil miscellanea
9. Myriopoda 9. Bryozoa 9. Mollusca 7. Brachiopoda
10. Insecta 10. Crustacea 10. Crustacea 8. Bryozoa (Polyzoa) & Entoprocta
    Coleoptera 11. Arachnida 11. Trilobita 9. Mollusca
    Hymenoptera 12. Myriopoda & Prototracheata 12. Arachnida 10. Crustacea
    Lepidoptera 13. Insecta 13. Insecta 11. Trilobitomorpha
    Diptera 14. Echinoderma 14. Protochordata 12. Arachnida & Smaller arthropod groups
    Neuroptera 15. Vermes 15. Pisces 13A. General Insecta & smaller orders
    Orthoptera 16. Cœlenterata 16. Amphibia 13B. Coleoptera
    Rhynchota 17. Spongiæ 17. Reptilia 13C. Diptera
11. Rotifera 18. Protozoa 18. Aves 13D. Lepidoptera
12. Annelida Alphabetical Index of New Names of Genera and Subgenera 19. Mammalia 13E. Hymenoptera
13. Helminthes 20. List of new genera, etc. 13F. Hemiptera
14. Echinodermata 14. Protochordata
15. Cœlenterata 15. Pisces
16. Protozoa 16. Amphibia
17. Reptilia
18. Aves
19. Mammalia
20. List of new taxonomic names

Zoological names

There has never been a single official repository for the recording of zoological names, despite the widespread recognition in the scientific community of the need for a comprehensive database of living organisms.[8][9][10] The ZR remains the unofficial record of zoological names since it indexes approximately 90% of the world literature in zoology.

In 1995, the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature was under development for the revised fourth edition (to be published in 1999). In the development, a recommendation was made for a process of "international notification" for new names in zoology. Since the Zoological Record indexes approximately 90% of the world literature on zoological nomenclature, it was seen as a good starting place for that process of notification. In response to this need, BIOSIS developed the Index to Organism Names (ION), a free and freely accessible database that serves as an index to those names published in the Zoological Record.[9] When BIOSIS was purchased by Thomson Reuters, ION was updated with names from additional databases, such as BIOSIS Previews and Biological Abstracts.

Similar biological nomenclature organizations and databases exist, such as the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Species 2000, and the Taxonomic Database Working Group (TDWG).[9] Web-based collaborative projects also exist, such as the Tree of Life Web Project, Encyclopedia of Life, Catalogue of Life, and Wikispecies.

Online availability

Most of the issues of The Zoological Record, published between 1870 and 1922, are available online at the Biodiversity Heritage Library.[11] More recent issues are not available at open access to the public in a digitised image format.


  1. "Zoological Record: Print Volume Number Information". Clarivate Analytics Support. Clarivate Analytics. Retrieved 21 August 2019. 2016 volume 152. 2016 was the last year that the print version of Zoological Record was made available.
  2. Bridson, G. D. R. (1968). "The Zoological Record – A Centenary Appraisal". Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History. 5 (1): 23–34. doi:10.3366/jsbnh.1968.5.1.23.
  3. "Zoological Info Now Current". Information Today. 5 (3): 32. March 1988. ISSN 8755-6286.
  4. "News Briefs: BIOSIS and CSA Release Zoological Record Plus". Information Today. 18 (1): 23. 2001. ISSN 8755-6286.
  5. Chillingworth, Mark (February 2004). "Thomson captures Biosis in its life sciences web". Information World Review (199): 3. ISSN 0950-9879.
  6. The Record of Zoological Literature, 1865
  7. The Zoological Record, 1900
  8. "Genomics and taxonomy for all". Nature. 417 (6889): 573. 2002. Bibcode:2002Natur.417Q.573.. doi:10.1038/417573a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 12050616. S2CID 20975643.
  9. Thorne, Joan (March 2003). "Zoological Record and the registration of new names in zoology". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 60 (1): 7–11. ISSN 0007-5167. Archived from the original on 2010-03-12.
  10. Patterson, David J.; Remsen, David; Norton, Cathy (December 2003). "Comment on Zoological Record and registration of new names in zoology". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 60 (4): 297–299. ISSN 0007-5167. Archived from the original on 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  11. Zoological record at Biodiversity Heritage Library.
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