Our knowledge of the structure and composition of genomes is rapidly progressing in pace with their sequencing. The emerging data show that a significant portion of eukaryotic genomes is composed of transposable elements (TEs). Given the abundance and diversity of TEs and the speed at which large quantities of sequence data are emerging, identification and annotation of TEs presents a significant challenge. Here we propose the first unified hierarchical classification system, designed on the basis of the transposition mechanism, sequence similarities and structural relationships, that can be easily applied by non-experts. The system and nomenclature is kept up to date at the WikiPoson web site.