Printed Beilstein Handbook: An enduring resource in organic chemistry


Philip Barnett, Science/Engineering Library, Science/Engineering Library, City College of New York (CUNY), Convent Avenue at 138th Street, New York, NY 10031
For over a century, the printed Beilstein Handbook of Organic Chemistry has been a nonpareil source of data on properties of organic compounds. Until about a decade ago, many organizations collected most or all of the printed volumes. While many users now access Beilstein on either the subscription based CrossFire or the online Beilstein database, many other users are bound to the printed handbook because they either cannot afford CrossFire or they lack a sufficient budget for extensive searching of the database. Moreover, the venerable printed version has a unique feature: one can browse to see how compounds related to a compound of interest are prepared, even if the compound of interest has not yet been synthesized. New users of the massive printed handbook are often intimidated by the difficulty of learning the complex and multi-layered rules for locating compounds in the printed volumes. However, tutorials and user aids like the ones in the Clearinghouse for Chemical Information Instructional Materials, and a small computer program, SANDRA, from the Beilstein Institute, enable new and occasional users to readily locate substances in these books. One such tutorial ( explains both the layout of the handbook and how to use SANDRA. This tutorial, accompanied by an appropriate assignment (such as finding some physical properties of a given compound in the main and all supplementary volumes) will teach mastery of the handbook. At the same time this regimen will reassure students that they can find any desired substance in this printed work.

Posters on Chemical Information Instruction
1:30 PM-3:30 PM, Tuesday, August 24, 2004 Pennsylvania Convention Center -- Hall D, Poster

8:00 PM-10:00 PM, Monday, August 23, 2004 Pennsylvania Convention Center -- Hall D, Sci-Mix

Division of Chemical Information

The 228th ACS National Meeting, in Philadelphia, PA, August 22-26, 2004