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_EEB 5347: Principles and Methods of Systematic Biology — Search Essentials for CAB Direct

Link to the CAB Abstracts Database

Taxonomic Searching in CAB Direct

CAB Abstracts is an international agriculture database which includes some taxonomic information for agricultural and related organisms.

The most helpful field for taxonomic terms is the Subject field, usable for all taxonomic terms. Three subfields within the Subject field are the “organism descriptor” field for searching organism names, the "geographic" field for searching place names and designations, and the "descriptor" field for search all other subject terms including taxonomic terms. 

To Search
Go to Advanced Search and select the desired field from the drop-down menu. Enter your phrase in the search blank. Add as many search lines as you need (one for each concept.)

It is important to put phrases in quotes or the words will also be searched individually as well as together.

A thesaurus is available for identifying related subject terms, broader terms and narrower terms to add to the search.


Terms Available


new combination

new taxa (substitute whatever level you wish - new family, new genus, new species, etc.)

nomen novem      (new name)

nomen nudem     (naked name, i.e. not official)

nomen dubium      (doubtful name)

species incertae sedis      (of uncertain placement)

species inquirenda       (a species of doubtful identify requiring further investigation)


synonymy       (a scientific name that applies to a taxon that (now) goes by a different scientific name)

taxonomic revisions
taxonomic status


type specimens


Try searching additional taxonomic terms in the descriptor field as well.