The Commission on Crystallographic Nomenclature was one of the original six commissions established by the First General Assembly of the IUCr in 1948. Its purpose was to advise on matters of scientific nomenclature as they pertained to the field of crystallography. Members of the Commission were originally nominated by the Adhering Bodies of the Union. Following the 5th General Assembly of 1960, membership of the Commission was restricted to certain editors of the Union ex officio. The current membership comprises the editors of the Union's journals and reference volumes, the Chair of the Commission on International Tables, the Chair of the IUCr/OUP Book series Committee, the Chair of the Teaching Commission, and the Chair of the Committee for the Maintenance of the Crystallographic Information File Standard.
At the 11th General Assembly in 1978, the modus operandi of the Commission changed. Nomenclature problems arising in specific fields of crystallography that come to the attention of, and are recognised as important by, the Commission would be studied by ad hoc committees of experts appointed by the Commission.