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Science: Classifying living things

Books in the Stephens Library

Both the Nettlefold and Stephens libraries have field guides on different animals and plants. A few of these are listed below. Search the catalogue for 'field guide' to find more.

Starting your research

Provides useful information regarding the characteristics of different taxa.

Search the Library's Worldshare Catalogue


Dichotomous Keys
This 2 min video explains the basic concepts behind dichotomous keys.

Creating Dichotomous Keys
The following 5 minute video demonstrates how to create a dichotomous key.


Animal Kingdom Unleashed
This 99c app for iOS users will assist you in learning the classification features of the animal kingdom.


Online resources

Human Evolution  (Australian Museum)
Provides a good discussion regarding human taxonomy.

Animal Diversity Web (University of Michigan)
An excellent site that provides comprehensive information regarding the Animalia kingdom. It includes photos and descriptions of taxa above the species level. Search for a specific animal using the common name then check the scientific classification provided on the right and of the page. Also provides information regarding the taxonomy of humans.

Atlas of Living Australia 
Search this database of iconic Australian species (both plants and animals). It only provides brief taxonomic information.

Encyclopedia of Life 
Provides information about all living species. Use the search facility to find taxonomic information about different organisms.

Useful Hutchins guides

Finding images

Online interactive sites