A range of key IUCN Red List guidance and policy documents are available. These provide guidance on how to prepare high-quality assessments for publication on the iUCN Red List and regional Red Lists, how to use Red List data, and more.
The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 3.1 were adopted by IUCN Council in February 2000. All new assessments and reassessments on the IUCN Red List must use this system. In 2012 the second edition of this publication was released.
In order to ensure global uniformity when describing the habitat in which a taxon occurs, the threats to a taxon, what conservation measures are in place or are needed, and whether or not the taxon is utilized, a set of standard terms (Classification Schemes; formerly referred to as Authority Files) have been developed for documenting taxa on the IUCN Red List.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is available only as an electronic version on the World Wide Web. The information presented is based on data extracted from the Species Information Service (SIS) database and is maintained by the Red List Unit of the IUCN Global Species Programme.
The 2012 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species contains assessments for almost 70,000 species, of which about 40,000 has spatial data. Spatial data are provided to download for most of the comprehensively assessed taxonomic groups such as amphibians, mammals, threatened birds, reef-building corals, seasnakes, seagrasses and mangroves.
The information about each taxon listed on the IUCN Red List often represents an accumulation of knowledge derived from previously published Red Lists, including the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals and The World List of Threatened Trees which were the last IUCN Red Lists to be published as hardcopy books. Users are therefore referred to these previous publications when checking on information sources and data quality.
The majority of assessments appearing on the IUCN Red List are carried out by members of the IUCN SSC Specialist Groups appointed Red List Authorities, or by participants of Global Biodiversity Assessment workshops. However, assessments can be done by anyone and submitted to IUCN for consideration.
IUCN receives frequent requests from around the world for advice on red listing and for formal training on how to use the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. In response to these requests, IUCN has developed new and revitalised training materials to facilitate understanding and application of IUCN Red List methodology.
The text on many of the static pages on this Red List web site includes citations of various references. This is particularly so on the Data Organization, Sources & Quality pages and Table 1 of the Summary Statistics. The full details of these references are provided here.