Towards a LEGO Minifigures® taxonomy

Dr. Christoph Bartneck, at the University of Canterbury HITLab NZ, not only investigates whether robot cats and dogs can be programmed to convincingly display ‘pain’, he also develops taxonomical models for LEGO Minifigures® – of which there are now more than 4000 (and 3600 are listed in his book ‘The Unofficial LEGO Minifigure® Catalog’

He explains some of the rationale behind the new approach here :

“Besides categorizing the figures, we also need to have a nomenclature. The Linnaean taxonomy uses the the [sic] combination of a genus name and a second term. Of course we should not use Latin terms, as proposed by Linnaeus. We could us [sic] acronyms and serial numbers. Here is my proposal:



aaa stands for the second last level in the taxonomy, for example stw for Star Wars
bbb stands for the last level in the taxonomy, for exampel [sic]  ep1 for Episode 1
yyyy stands for the year in which the figure was produced first, for example 2001
sss stands for a three digit serial number with preceedings [sic] zeros, for example 007

The advantage of this nomenclature is that [sic] distinguish between the older figures in the Town theme from the newer figures in the City theme. “

An interactive map of the proposed taxonomy can be explored here


6 Responses to “Towards a LEGO Minifigures® taxonomy”

  1. chris Says:

    The book is available at

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