Understanding mammalian genetic systems is predicated on the determination of the relationship between genetic variation and phenotype. Several international programmes are under way to deliver mutations in every gene in the mouse genome. The challenge for mouse geneticists is to develop approaches that will provide comprehensive phenotype datasets for these mouse mutant libraries. Several factors are critical to success in this endeavour. It will be important to catalogue assay and environment and where possible to adopt standardised procedures for phenotyping tests along with common environmental conditions to ensure comparable datasets of phenotypes. Moreover, the scale of the task underlines the need to invest in technological development improving both the speed and cost of phenotyping platforms. In addition, it will be necessary to develop new informatics standards that capture the phenotype assay as well as other factors, genetic and environmental, that impinge upon phenotype outcome.