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Database Guides: Zoological Record

Information about using the various databases in the A-Z Online Resources,


What is it?

Zoological Record is the world's most comprehensive index to zoological and animal science literature. It covers all aspects of  animal biology including: behaviour, biodiversity, conservation, ecology, physiology, taxonomy, evolution, nomenclature and zoogeography. The database indexes more than 5,000 journals (3,200 of which are not covered by BIOSIS Citation Index or Web of Science Core Collection) plus many other sources of information including books, reports, and meetings. 

Zoological Record is the oldest continuing database for animal biology with coverage back to 1864.

Zoological Record provides an authoritative record of taxonomy and nomenclature: it records the discovery of new organisms and has long acted as the unofficial "register" of animal names.

What is it for?

Use to find information in all aspects of animal biology, palaeobiology and zoology.  Zoological Record focuses on the natural biology of animals (fossil, recent, whole animal, behavioural, environmental, and cellular studies).

While the focus of coverage is on the biology of the animal in its natural habitat, this does not preclude the inclusion of experimental studies.  However, articles dealing with the use of domestic species or animals normally used for experimental purposes are generally excluded unless the information relates back to the natural biology of the animal. Studies on modern humans and use of animals as models for human studies are also excluded.

How to access it

Login to the Portal and then choose Zoological Record from the A-Z List of online resources.

How to search

You are automatically placed in the Zoological Record Basic Search screen where you can carry out a Topic, Author search, etc.  To carryout an Advanced search, choose the down arrow next to Basic Search above the Search box and select the Advanced Search option.


From the Basic Search screen select the type of search you wish to conduct from the drop-down box
e.g. Use the TOPIC box to carry out subject keyword searching.

AND searches (to narrow the search), e.g., aquaculture AND pollution

OR searches (to broaden the search), e.g., vaccination OR immunisation

PHRASE search will find 2 or more words coming together in that order - need to use " " (quotation marks), e.g., "bovine spongiform encephalopathy "

Truncation: Use $ (dollar) to search for plurals eg., gene$ will find gene or genes but not genetic or general. use $ (dollar) within a word eg., colo$r will find color or colou
Use * at the end of a word to find all words beginning with those letters, eg., vaccin* will find vaccine, vaccines, vaccination, vaccinate, etc.,


Combining Searches: Click on the Search History button from the top toolbar. (or click on the link >> View your search history/combine sets). This takes you to a page which lists the searches you have conducted during the current session.  Combine sets together by marking the appropriate set numbers and selecting either AND or OR, then click on Combine.



Zoological Record is a very structured database and you can improve your search by using the different searches available.  You can see all the different indexes and the terms that have been applied at the foot of each full record display. 

Subject Descriptors: The Subject Descriptors Search searches all the indexing terms added to records by the database producers.  To help you find the preferred terms to search by you can browse the Zoological Record Thesaurus.

From the Basic Search, choose Subject Descriptors from the drop-down menu next to the search box. Then click on the Select from Thesaurus link.  There are five sections in the Thesaurus:

Taxa Notes

You can search in the Find box to search for terms anywhere in the Thesaurus or you can browse each section by clicking the plus sign next to a term.  Click on the small T symbol to display the details about a term.  To select a term to seach click on the Add button next to the term.  This copies the term into the box at the foot of the page, then click OK to transfer the term to the search screen.


A Subject Descriptor Search will search for your selected term in all the following indexes within records (if you wish to specify a specific index in your search use the Advanced Search option):

Broad Terms: Broad Terms denote broad or general concepts and are from the Zoological Record Thesaurus.

Descriptors Data (includes: Descriptor Organism, Descriptor Controlled Term, Descriptor Subset, Descriptor Modified): Descriptors include terms from the Subject, Geographical and Palaeontological sections of the Zoological Record Thesaurus as well as non-controlled terms such as the names of specific organisms and modifiers.

Super Taxa: Super Taxa terms are scientific names displayed to show the taxonomic hierarchy to which animals discussed in the source document belong. They are controlled terms from the Super Taxa section of the Zoological Record Thesaurus.

Systematics (includes: Organism Classifier, Organism Name, Organism Author Date, Systematics Controlled Term, Systematics Modifier, Organism Role, Fossil Indicator, Organism Detail): Systematics terms relate to animal names, systematics and taxonomy which are used to index the source document.  They are controlled terms from the Zoological Record Thesaurus plus free-text terms added in the indexing of records.

Taxa Notes: Taxa Notes terms are broader animal group names referring to the animals discussed in a source document. These are common/vernacular names rather than Latin/scientific names.


Topic search: The Topic Search searches the document Title, Abstract (and where relevant Book Title) as well as all the Subject Descriptors fields as described above.


Species search: To find information on a particular species, use the Topic search and search the systematic Latin species name as a phrase. For example, to find information on Atlantic salmon, type the systematic name: "salmo salar" in the search box. NB Remember to use quotation marks as it is a phrase search. 
Alternatively search for a topic and then refine your search by the Organisms refine option (note this latter method is a narrower search and will yield a different number of results since the Organisms option only searches within the Systematics Data table in the full-record, rather than searching Title, Abstract and Indexing fields as when using the Topic search).


Full text?

Click on the Full-Text button that displays under each record - then choose the Find@Stir button Find@Stir button, which provides links to the full text of the journal if available, or to the library catalogue, to check if we have the item in paper format.


Records can be downloaded into RefWorks (a software product for managing references and formatting bibliographies).

Further help

For help, click on the Help option in the top right handside of the Web of Science screens.

Marking records for printing and downloading

Results are displayed in summary format, up to ten items are displayed per page. To go to another page of results, click the navigation arrows or type a page number.

To see the full record of an item in the results listing, click on the record title.

Results: You can mark items from the results listing screen by selecting the checkbox next to record(s) and then selecting Add to Marked List at the top right hand side of the records listing. Then select Marked List on the far right hand side of the grey menu bar above the results.  From the Marked List screen you can choose to print, email or output your records to bibliographic management software (such as RefWorks): choose the Print or Email icons or choose your bibliographic software in the Send to drop down menu.

Zoological Record Intro video

Zoological Record Searching Tips video

Link to Zoological Record