Lipidomics, a major part of metabolomics, constitutes the detailed analysis and global characterization, both spatial and temporal, of the structure and function of lipids (the lipidome) within a living system. As with proteomics, mass spectrometry has earned a central analytical role in lipidomics, and this role will continue to grow with technological developments. Currently, there exist two mass spectrometry-based lipidomics approaches, one based on a division of lipids into categories and classes prior to analysis, the "comprehensive lipidomics analysis by separation simplification" (CLASS), and the other in which all lipid species are analyzed together without prior separation, shotgun. In exploring the lipidome of various living systems, novel lipids are being discovered, and mass spectrometry is helping characterize their chemical structure. Deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (DXMS) is being used to investigate the association of lipids and membranes with proteins and enzymes, and imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is being applied to the in situ analysis of lipids in tissues.