Among the various databases dedicated to the identification of protein families and domains, PROSITE is the first one created and has continuously evolved since. PROSITE currently consists of a large collection of biologically meaningful motifs that are described as patterns or profiles, and linked to documentation briefly describing the protein family or domain they are designed to detect. The close relationship of PROSITE with the SWISS-PROT protein database allows the evaluation of the sensitivity and specificity of the PROSITE motifs and their periodic reviewing. In return, PROSITE is used to help annotate SWISS-PROT entries. The main characteristics and the techniques of family and domain identification used by PROSITE are reviewed in this paper.