One of the central points of tension in the ScienceBase architecture is the aspect of remaining open to many different types of information to meet the needs of science teams doing work and the need for clarity in accessing and organizing information, both on the grand scale of all of ScienceBase and within the context of a given community group. One of the guiding principles for ScienceBase comes from the concept that at some level, everything is miscellaneous (Weinberger 2008). For instance, one person's "map" is another person's "data."

While there is great need for flexible thinking, humans require some method of organizing and browsing for information, particularly when there are many hundreds or thousands of information sources. This prompted the creation of ScienceBase Categories, a short list of "supertypes" of the information in ScienceBase. Every item in ScienceBase has at least one Category assigned, either programmatically or by human decision. These come from the following list that forms one of the major search facets in the ScienceBase interface. The links on items will take you to a search view of all current items in the category.

The list of ScienceBase Categories can be accessed through the ScienceBase Vocabulary in the Browse Categories vocabulary.