A previously published method for the analysis of glycosaminoglycan disaccharides by high pH anion exchange chromatography (Midura,R.J., Salustri,A., Calabro,A., Yanagishita,M. and Hascall,V.C. (1994), Glycobiology, 4, 333–342) has been modified and calibrated for chondroitin and dermatan sulfate oligosaccharides up to hexasaccharide in size and hyaluronan oligosaccharides up to hexadecasaccharide. For hyaluronan oligosaccharides chain length controls elution position; however, for chondroitin and dermatan sulfate oligosaccharides elution times primarily depend upon the level of sulfation, although chain length and hence charge density plays a role. The sulfation position of GalNAc residues within an oligosaccharide is also important in determining its elution position. Compared to 4-sulfation a reducing terminal 6-sulfate retards elution; however, when present on an internal GalNAc residue it is the 4-sulfate containing oligosaccharide which elutes later. These effects allow discrimination between oligosaccharides differing only in the position of GalNAc sulfation. Using this simple methodology, a Dionex CarboPac PA-1 column with NaOH/NaCl eluents and detection by absorbance at 232 nm, a quantitative analytical fingerprint of a chondroitin/dermatan sulfate chain may be obtained, allowing a determination of the abundance of chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate, and hyaluronan along with an analysis of structural features with a linear response to ~0.1 nmol. The method may readily be calibrated using either commercial disaccharides or the di- and tetrasaccharide products of a limit digest of commercial chondroitin sulfate by chondroitin ABC endolyase. Commercially available and freshly prepared shark, whale, bovine, and human cartilage chondroitin sulfates have been examined by this methodology and we have confirmed that freshly isolated shark cartilage CS contains significant amounts of the biologically important GlcA2Sß(1–3)GalNAc6S structure.