Ever wonder who or what is responsible for making sure that every living creature has an official scientific name? Just one of the scholarly societies that helps to shoulder this momentous task is the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature or ICZN. The ICZN is responsible for ensuring that the system of names used for the animal kingdom is internationally uniform and accepted. Founded in 1895, the ICZN currently is made up of 27 members from 18 different countries around the world. Given the millions different recognized animal species that walk, crawl, hop, slither, swim, glide, pounce, or wiggle about on, over, or below the Earth’s surface today, the commission certainly has its work cut out for it. Interested in learning more about the types of names that can be proposed, the animals waiting for a new or revised moniker, or the buying and selling of scientific names? The answers to those questions and many, many more, can be found here.
Contrary to popular belief, maps do not offer a neutral, objective view of the world but reflect the sociocultural perspectives, personal political opinions, religious beliefs, and underlying commercial objectives of the people who create them. In cooperation with Cornell University, map specialist PJ Mode has assembled a fascinating collection of more than 800 examples of persuasive cartography. Visitors to this historical e-collection will be surprised and quite likely shocked by the power of cartography to affect public opinion. Browse the collection or learn more here.
“Every map has a Who, What, Where and When about it. But these maps had another element: Why? Since they were primarily “about” something other than geography, understanding the map required finding the reasoning behind it. Each time I acquired one of these maps, I tried to solve that puzzle. As the internet developed, it became easier to come across these “curiosities” – and easier to research their raison d’etre.”
The Directory of the UK Map Collections has now been converted to a database. The directory database lists all of the major map collections in the British Isles and is run by the British Cartographic Society (BCS). Visit the website to browse for free!
- National Libraries
- National Mapping Agencies
- Government Libraries & Archives
- Corporation of London
- London Museums, Societies, Institutions, Businesses, etc.
- University & College Libraries
- Museums, Societies, Institutions, Businesses, etc. outside London
- Northern Ireland
- Local Authority Libraries
A Facebook group on Tropical Toponymy has been started. The purpose of the group is to share information about African place names. Anyone interested is warmly invited to join.
The website Ghana Place Names was started in 2010 as “a research project to find the meanings and origins of as many place names in Ghana as possible”. The intention of the Tropical Toponymy group is to broaden the scope and give opportunity for contributors to share their knowledge of place names anywhere on the continent of Africa. It is hoped that this will enable comparisons to be made and identify similarities and differences in naming motivations in the different cultures.
If you are interested, please request membership of the group. If you would like to contribute information about a place name, if possible please give at least the country & approximate location, and the meaning of the name. Some account of how the place got its name would also be useful. A picture of the place helps to make the name less abstract. Questions are also welcome, in the hope that other readers will be able to help. Relevant announcements and links may also be posted.
Reach out to your local name society!
- Canadian Society for the Study of Names
- Canadian Geographical Names Database
- Alberta: Alberta’s Geographical Names
- British Columbia: British Columbia’s Geographical Names
- Manitoba: Manitoba Geographical Names Program
- New Brunswick: Service de toponymie du Nouveau-Brunswick
- Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia’s Geographical Names
- Prince Edward Island: Prince Edward Island’s Place Finder
- Prince Edward Island: Geographical Names of Prince Edward Island
- Quebec: Commission de toponymie du Québec
- Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Geographic Names
- Yukon: Yukon Geographical Place Names Board
- Council of Geographic Names Authorities (COGNA)
- Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
- United States Board on Geographic Names
- Gazetteer of British Place Names
- The Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use (PCGN)
- Austria: Working Group for the Austrian Cartographic Place Names
- Denmark: Norden Division UNGEN
- Denmark: The Names Research Section of the Department of Scandinavian Research
- England: Institute of Name Studies
- England: Key to English Place Names
- England: The English Place Names Society
- England and Ireland: Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland
- Estonia: Place Names Database of Estonia
- Finland: The Research Institute for the Languages of Finland
- France : Société Française d’Onomastique
- Germany: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Namenforschung
- Germany: Onomastik Namen und Namensbedeutung
- Germany: Zentrum für Namenforschung
- Germany: Forschergruppe NAMEN (Universität Regensburg)
- Greece: Lexicon of Greek Personal Names
- Greenland: Place Names Committee
- Greenland: Personal Names Committee
- Hungary: The Onomastic Department of the Society of Hungarian Linguistics
- Iceland: Department of Names
- Italy: Centro Studi di Onomastica Piemontese
- Italy: Il Nome nel testo
- Italy: Onomastica e Letteratura
- Italy: Rivista Italiana di Onomastica
- Ireland: Historical Dictionary of Irish Placenames
- Ireland: Placenames Database of Ireland
- Ireland: Ulster Place-Name Society
- Lithuania: Dept of Onomastics Lithuania
- Lithuania: Institute of the Lithuanian Language
- Netherlands: Meertens Instituut
- Norway: Norwegian Name Association
- Norway: Norwegian Farm Names
- Poland: Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside of the Republic of Poland (KSNG)
- Scotland: Scottish Place Name Society
- Spain/Portugal: Asociacion Gelaga de Onomastica
- Sweden: Swedish Institute for Language and Folklore
- Switzerland: Ortsnamen
- Switzerland: Ortsnamenforschung BS
- Wales: Welsh Place Name Society
- Australian National Placenames Survey
- Geoscience Australia: Place Name Search
- Geographical Names Board of New South Wales
- Committee for Geographical Names of Australasia
- Aboriginal Place Names Around Sydney Harbour
- Nomenclature Board of Tasmania
- New Zealand: New Zealand Geographic Place Names Database
Find these journals about onomastics at a library near you.
Learn more about personal names on the following websites:
- U.S. Social Security Administration -U.S. Birth Name Statistics by year and state.
- BabyNames.com – Online since 1996, this site provides name meanings, origins, notes, top most popular lists and a large name community.
- Behind the Name – Extensive collection of names, meanings and cross-references.
Learn more about place names on the following websites:
Placenames.com – Find countries, cities, towns, villages, mountains, hills, rivers, lakes, islands, and other geographic and administrative place names.
GeoNames – geographical database of place names
Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names – find information about named places
Scots Words and Place-names – glossary of Scots words which are used in place-names