The Jellyfish Database Initiative (JeDI) is a scientifically-coordinated global database dedicated to gelatinous zooplankton (members of the Cnidaria, Ctenophora and Thaliacea) and associated environmental data. The database holds 476,000 quantitative, categorical, presence-absence and presence only records of gelatinous zooplankton spanning the past four centuries (1790-2011) assembled from a variety of published and unpublished sources. Gelatinous zooplankton data are reported to species level, where identified, but taxonomic information on phylum, family and order are reported for all records. Other auxiliary metadata, such as physical, environmental and biometric information relating to the gelatinous zooplankton metadata, are included with each respective entry. JeDI has been developed and designed as an open access research tool for the scientific community to quantitatively define the global baseline of gelatinous zooplankton populations and to describe long-term and large-scale trends in gelatinous zooplankton populations and blooms. It has also been constructed as a future repository of datasets, thus allowing retrospective analyses of the baseline and trends in global gelatinous zooplankton populations to be conducted in the future.