A method to identify seashells is to use an online seashell identification guide website such as Seashells.org. The website shows thumbnails of seashell pictures with names. Match up the seashell to a picture, and click on the thumbnail to view more information about the seashell. Ideally, narrow down the search by first identifying the seashell as a gastropod or bi-valve, then use an identification guide. Another method to identify seashells is to use a seashell identification book.
Seashells.org provides identification pictures to many types of seashells and other sea life along the shore. Each seashell picture features the scientific name and usual location of the specific seashell. Searching for the scientific name of the seashell usually yields more results. Seashells.org features most, but not all, types of seashells due to the overwhelming number of seashell variations.
If the seashell looks like it was made all in one piece, it is considered a gastropod. Seashells with two sections hitched together are called bi-valve seashells. The differences between the two types are usually due to the lifestyle of each shell. There are many other factors that alter the appearance of seashells, including age, color, size and condition. Larger shells rarely appear near the shore and are usually found in deep water.