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This resource is freely accessible


AnimalBase provides copyright-free open access to zoological works and provides manually verified lists of names of zoological genera and species. It includes digitized books and journal articles, most from prior to 1900, in their original language. Documents display as scanned images; many can be downloaded as PDFs. You can also search or browse by species, genus, or family.

AnimalBase is a service provided by the Zoological Institute of the University of Göttingen, Germany. Our work has been funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG. AnimalBase was established to link the early literature with the names of the animals described therein. The names of generic and specific taxa have all been entered manually into the database, including original and corrected spellings of names, type localities, and page numbers where these names were originally established in the publications. Doing this we followed a standard established by our working group.

It is our scope to provide copyright-free open access to zoological works, and provide manually verified lists of names of zoological genera and species as a free resource for the public. AnimalBase data are public domain. The public use of AnimalBase data is not restricted or conditioned. Those who contribute voluntarily data or pictures to AnimalBase do this under the understanding of contributing to a free public resource.

The literature is digitized by SUB Göttingen (our university library). In a first 2-year period (2003-2005) we have digitized nearly all taxonomically relevant zoological literature from the beginnings around 1550 until 1770 (about 400 works, in which 10,000 specific and generic names were established). In a second period (2008-2011) we have been digitizing more works (total number 1000-2000 volumes, comprising 600,000 pages).

Early zoological publications are digitized under the highest quality standards by the Center for Retrospective Digitization in Göttingen (Göttinger Digitalisierungszentrum, GDZ). If available, AnimalBase also provides links to the digitized public domain content of other providers, such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) or Gallica.

We compare the original works with Sherborn's Index Animalium, and at this occasion verify Sherborn's precious file. For the generic names we compare with Nomenclator Zoologicus.

Today our database should include all zoological taxa described from 1757 until 1775. We are continuously progressing in the time-line, currently we are working on names established in the mid-1780s.


Digitized pages and figures can be downloaded for non-profit purposes. 


350 B.C.E.-present


September 13, 2010


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