Union Catalogue

The project and its history

Project background and general introduction

The Linnaeus Link Project is an international collaboration aimed at producing a union catalogue devoted to the work of the great eighteenth-century naturalist-physician, Carl Linnaeus (Carl von Linné; 1707-1778), supported by web-based descriptions of significant Linnaean collections worldwide. The aim of this work is to support the dissemination of Linnaeus’ ideas and to provide a significant scholarly resource and educational tool.

The Project’s fundamental agenda is to create a comprehensive catalogue of publications by Linnaeus and his students prior to 1831, reflecting the holdings of major research collections world-wide. These works are important today, both as practical tools to support scientists in the identification of animals, plants, rocks, fossils and minerals and by providing an important record of eighteenth-century science and culture. The cut-off date was initially set at 1831 as this marked the end of the hand-press era. Post-1831 works were included at a later stage of the Project.

We are very pleased that the importance of this project has been formally recognised by two prominent biological organisations:

International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT): View letter of support.

International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN): View letter of support


Organisation of the Project

The Project is managed by the consortium of partners. The Linnaeus Link Co-ordinator has overall responsibility, including the continuation of the Soulsby-bibliography by assigning Post-Soulsby numbers. The Project Co-ordinator reports on progress at the Partners' meetings, which are held annually.

The Linnaeus Link Co-ordinator is Dr Isabelle Charmantier, Head of Collections at The Linnean Society of London. She is supported by the Project Administrator, Will Beharrell, Librarian of the The Linnean Society of London.

The progress of the Project is monitored by the consortium of partners, based on regular reports from the Project Co-ordinator. More general evaluative input will be gathered through other targeted activities, including the provision of feedback facilities on the Project website, the collection and monitoring of access statistics for the site in general and the union catalogue in particular, and regular statistical checks on the growth of the union catalogue.


Cataloguing & Resources

The Project included the creation of navigable, machine-readable versions of Soulsby’s bibliography and Sherborn’s Index. These works have been digitised by the NHM as part of its contribution to the Project. Digitisation of several key works of Linnaeus is planned.

The core catalogue comprises a bibliographic database of detailed title records, based on Linnaean materials at the NHM, in MARC21 format, catalogued using DCRB3 guidelines (which follow the AACR24 and ISBD (A)5 standards) and Guidelines for the Cataloguing of Rare Books6, searchable via the web using a variety of standard OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) search options. The catalogue supports the import and export of records via the Z39.50 search and retrieve protocol or XML (Extensible Markup Language).



The project was initially co-funded by the Natural History Museum London, and The Linnean Society of London.

The new Linnaeus Link system (developed 2011-2012 by 67 Bricks) was funded by The Linnean Society of London.

Support for the Linnaeus Link Project has been given by contributions from Project partners through the work carried out by their staff members.

To enable the long term future of the system and to add enhancements additional funding may be sought.