SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1988

The Road to a Truly Authoritative Chemical Dictionary


While a number of chemical dictionaries are on the market, there is an indisputable need for a truly authoritative one in which the definition of each term is carefully formulated and checked by a panel of experts in the field. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) through its Interdivisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols (IDCNS) has begun a project aimed at eventually producing such a dictionary.

A brief history of the project is given. The organization of IUPAC is summarized, and the publications procedure by which nomenclature and terminology documents gain official IUPAC status is described. These documents represent the data base from which the initial Compendium of Chemical Terminology: IUPAC Recommendations has been produced. In the Compendium, terms along with their definitions are reproduced from IUPAC-approved documents published through 1985 in the fields of physical, inorganic, organic, macromolecular, and analytical chemistry. Terms from the fields of applied and clinical chemistry are to be added later. Some examples of editing decisions are presented.

Since each of the terms with its definition has been approved by an expert IUPAC commission, this compendium represents a real first step toward a truly authoritative chemical dictionary. It is hoped that in due time relevant terms with their definitions taken from official documents outside of IUPAC will also be included.

Author Information

Loening, KL
Chemical Abstracts Service, Columbus, OH
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Developed by Committee: E02
Pages: 14–22
DOI: 10.1520/STP29545S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5059-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1183-7