Science of Synthesis
Science of Synthesis is the 5th edition of the Houben-Weyl Methods in Organic Chemistry series. It is a highly organized and authoritative collection of reviews on organic synthetic methods. Reviews contain full experimental procedures and background information. Its purpose is to provide a direct path through the mass of primary literature to the pertinent information on a wide range of organic reactions. The base set (48 volumes, 2000-2010) contains information on over 265,000 reactions and 29,000 experimental procedures. It is available both in print and in electronic formats. The print set is continued by quarterly "Knowledge Updates" and "Reference Library" topical overviews; these are not yet available online.
How does SoS relate to SciFinder and Beilstein?
Science of Synthesis is a self-contained review work, like a treatise or encyclopedia, that is highly proscribed and planned, and written by recognized experts. By contrast, Chemical Abstracts (via SciFinder
) is an open-ended bibliographic index to the entire chemical literature, broadly defined. Beilstein (via Reaxys
) is a database of organic compounds and reactions derived from a selected subset of the journal and patent literature. Neither SciFinder nor Beilstein contains authored, textual descriptions of synthetic procedures, though they provide plentiful references to the primary literature on these topics.
Science of Synthesis complements these tools and should be used in conjunction with them. Unlike SciFinder or Beilstein, it is browsable by a hierarchical table of contents as well as searchable by structure and keyword. A chemist looking for the present knowledge of a type of synthetic method or class of compounds might start in SoS and follow up with searches for structures/reactions and/or keywords in SciFinder, and for structures/reactions in Beilstein. Science of Synthesis chapters provide numerous references to the journal literature, but these are selective, not comprehensive.
Each volume covers a specific class of compound. Volumes are organized into Categories
, which are in turn broken down into narrower specialty volumes.
You can search by exact or sub-structure, reaction, and keywords. Searches can be refined with CAS registry numbers, catalysts and solvents, reaction temperature, or yield. You can also browse the available volumes via detailed tables of contents. Bibliographic searching of references (by author, book/journal title, year) is also possible.
The user has a choice of three drawing tools: a built-in Java applet, ISIS Draw, or ChemDraw. (The last two require separate software on your computer.) You can also upload Molfiles from a local disk. To use the Java applet your browser must have Java enabled.
Houben-Weyl, 4th Edition
The PDF full text of the 4th Edition of Houben-Weyl
(1952-2003) is also available through the online Science of Synthesis. The 4th edition is not searchable in the same way as the new edition is; you can browse the tables of contents, or select from graphical representations of families of molecules and functional groups. Chapters of the 5th edition also contain links to related information found in the 4th edition. The 4th Edition was in German until 1990.
provide some guided search examples. Other help pages are available on the Science of Synthesis web site.
Science of Synthesis in print
The published volumes are available in the Chemistry Library, along with the the complete 4th edition of Houben-Weyl. They are shelved in Reference range R2, behind the Handbook Table. The volumes are non-circulating. [Catalog Record