Education & Outreach

On this page we are making a number of presentations on nomenclature available to you, courtesy of the authors. Use these for an overview of topics related to nomenclature, or as a basis for teaching nomenclature in your own courses. Examples in these talks are often drawn from the authors' areas of expertise, and each is constructed differently. Presentation here does not imply that all contents have been vetted by the ICZN. Please do give credit to the original author if you use this material.

We welcome further contributions.

Nomenclature for the Future: The power and challenges for stable and sensible scientific names for animals

by Ellinor Michel, Richard Pyle, David Patterson & Jon Todd

Field Museum: What's in a Name (ICZN Executive Secretary Ellinor Michel)

Species names are important, and much like the species they refer to, names often change over time, too. Taxonomists have been struggling to keep track of them all since the origins of natural history. Binomial nomenclature, the standardized way in which scientists name species, was a major breakthrough. That breakthrough is about 250 years old now, though, and it's a tall order to keep track of 250-years' worth of new names, new species, and information about those species. Dr. Ellinor Michel from the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature visited the Field Museum in November 2012 to discuss ZooBank, a new online archive of zoological species names. The Field Museum is making similar efforts to provide worldwide access to its own online archives of the collections. Their new site will be online soon, and in the meantime, you can search the Field Museum's collections here. (The tiny rove beetle species featured in the video is Omaliopsis ectopia. Margaret Thayer named the holotype which is part of the Museum's Coleoptera Collection.) Our holdings are also available from our IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit) server and from the GBIF (Global Biodiversity Informatics Facility) data portal. For a glimpse of nomenclature history, take a closer look at Systema Naturae, the work in which Carl Linnaeus really delved into classification using binomial nomenclature. (And keep an eye out for Animalia Paradoxa if you're wondering what the X-Files were like 250 years ago...) See more of The Field Revealed series.

Two talks for students in Systematics & Biodiversity MSc course

In English, by Ellinor Michel, Secretariat, R. Pyle & A. Polaszek, ICZN, c/o Natural History Museum, London

Introduction to zoological nomenclature and the ICZN (2009), 117 slides, 1.5 hours.


Linneaus - Sherborn - ZooBank: An introduction to ZooBank and a brief history of nomenclators, 79 slides, 1.5 hours

A talk in three parts for an audience of taxonomists

Introduction to Zoological Nomenclature (Part 1). Approximately 1 hour, 38 slides, in English. By Jerry Hooker, Dep't of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, London, UK 


Comparing the Codes: Zoological and Botantical Nomenclature (Part 2). Approximately 30+ min, 17 slides, in English. By Jerry Hooker, Dep't of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, London, UK 


Alterative Codes: PhyloCode and others (Part 3). Approximately 30+ min, 20 slides, in English. By Peter Forey, Dep't of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, London, UK 

A general introduction to scientific nomenclature

For biologists. Approximately 1 hour, 54 slides, in English. By Hendrik Segers, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, prepared for a shortcourse at Hue University in Vietnam, 2009.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith