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New Electronic Resource: Science of Synthesis

The UCI Libraries have licensed Science of Synthesis, an authoritative reference source on chemical synthesis which aims to be the foremost such resource of the 21st century.

Issued by Thieme publishers in both print and online versions, Science of Synthesis: Houben-Weyl Methods of Molecular Transformations, is a work in progress. When complete (anticipated for 2009), it will contain contributions from 1,000 authors on 18,000 experimental procedures for 180,000 reactions and 800,000 structures.

The new online edition features fully interactive text and structure searching. Searches for classes of target molecules organize results that follow the general Houben-Weyl layout: methods for the synthesis of the title class of compounds, with variations and brief experimental details. Many of the chapters also contain useful sections on the application in organic synthesis of the relevant compounds. The references are up to date, in accord with the publishers’ claim that references would extend up to the year of print publication.

The online edition also provides access to the complete electronic backfile of Methods of Organic Chemistry (Houben-Weyl), issued by the same publisher from 1909-2004 in 140 volumes. A standard reference work for synthetic chemists, Houben Weyl includes some 700,000 references to 580,000 structures and 146,000 product-specific experimental procedures.

As explained in the Preface, Science of Synthesis is “a balanced and critical reference work … organized in a logical hierarchical system based on the target molecule to be synthesized.” One of the most important aspects of such a reference work is the critical evaluation of the data presented. The authors of the Houben-Weyl series include chemists from around the world with a wide experience in the chemistry of the elements concerned, so their summary of the salient features may be expected to be authoritative. A more comprehensive library reference work for chemical synthesis is difficult to imagine.

For more information, please contact Mitchell Brown, Research Librarian for Chemistry and Earth System Science (mcbrown@uci.edu or x49732).


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