A simple technique for identifying protein secondary structures through the analysis of backbone 13C chemical shifts is described. It is based on the Chemical-Shift Index [Wishart et al. (1992) Biochemistry, 31, 1647-1651] which was originally developed for the analysis of 1H(alpha) chemical shifts. By extending the Chemical-Shift Index to include 13C(alpha), 13C(beta) and carbonyl 13C chemical shifts, it is now possible to use four independent chemical-shift measurements to identify and locate protein secondary structures. It is shown that by combining both 1H and 13C chemical-shift indices to produce a 'consensus' estimate of secondary structure, it is possible to achieve a predictive accuracy in excess of 92%. This suggests that the secondary structure of peptides and proteins can be accurately obtained from 1H and 13C chemical shifts, without recourse to NOE measurements.