Trisha Shetty (Editor)

The Zoological Record

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Producer  Thomson Reuters
Languages  English
Disciplines  Zoology
History  1865 - present
Cost  Subscription
Providers  Thomson Reuters, Ovid Technologies, Dialog, ProQuest

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


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, and from 2004 to the present it has been published by Thomson Reuters.


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.

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. 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. February 2004 saw the acquisition of BIOSIS by Thomson ISI, again changing the producer of The Zoological Record. Following the merger of Thomson and Reuters, Zoological Record is now produced by Thomson Reuters.


The Zoological Record began coverage of different phyla in different years, 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:

Zoological Names

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

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. 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). Web-based collaborative projects also exist, such as the Tree of Life Web Project, Encyclopedia of Life, Catalogue of Life, and Wikispecies.

Online availability

The Zoological Record is one of the few extremely important historical publications in the field of zoological nomenclature which are not available at open access to the public in a digitised image format, for example at the Biodiversity Heritage Library or the Internet Archive. In the United States there are however no legal restrictions to digitisation for the volumes that appeared prior to 1923, since their copyrights have expired and they are in the public domain.

The 2016 printed edition will be the last printed edition.


The Zoological Record Wikipedia