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Organic Chemistry

Sources in Synthetic Chemistry

Finding a preparation method for a known compound is one of the most basic tasks an organic chemist must learn to do.  Chemistry has a wealth of go-to places to start this search, some of which have been around for decades.  Modern reaction searching systems allow great precision analysis, e.g. by yield, reagent, catalyst, etc.  If you're concerned about reproducibility and procedural clarity (sometimes lacking in primary journal papers), Organic Syntheses is an excellent starting point. 


Print Resources


Print Handbooks

Written language is inadequate for expressing the precise structure and composition of a molecule. Despite the best efforts of IUPAC and other groups to establish standard rules for naming compounds, the only unambiguous way to depict a substance is with a structural formula. The name of a particular substance can vary according to the source used: CAS, CRC, Beilstein/Reaxys, etc. all have used different nomenclature conventions over the decades, and the rules change over time. Many IUPAC-style names are now generated by software tools rather than by hand, and there is much variation. Chemists generally use acronyms, trivial names, and trade names as shorthand.

Review Series and Serials

Here's a selection of open-ended publications that contain authoritative reviews of interest to organic chemists.

Encyclopedic Reviews

Encyclopedic treatises offer a general, structured overview by expert authors. They are good starting points for learning about particular reactions and chemical mechanisms, and they contain numerous (older) literature references, but they are only snapshots in time and are quickly out of date.


You can save searches and set up customized email alerts in most of the major databases that index the literature: SciFinder, Web of Science, Reaxys, PubMed, etc. You can also track new issues of your favorite journals and get tables of contents sent to you by email or RSS feed.


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