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University at Buffalo Libraries

Beilstein Handbook of Organic Chemistry


Silverman (Capen) Library Sci/Engr Book Collection QD 251 .B4 (Non-circulating)

Located on the 3rd floor of the Silverman Library, the Beilsteins Handbook of Organic Chemistry (Handbuch der Organischen Chemie), or simply Beilstein, is a multi-volume collection of published data and literature references on the properties, spectra, and preparation of organic compounds. Unlike most abstract and index resources, Beilstein is not an indexed listing of the abstracts of individual articles sequentially arranged on a page. Instead, the information on each compound from one or more decades of published literature is all drawn together in one place in the volume. The detailed summary with actual synthesis, property, and other information is so detailed that often one does not need to go back to the original article. The entire work is arranged hierarchically by chemical classes and subclasses.

The print volumes are available in the Silverman Library Science & Engineering Information Center Book Collection (Call number: QD 251.B4).

Up until 1960, Beilstein was published in German, then switching to English. The print edition ceased publication after issuing volumes covering the chemical literature up through 1979 for heterocyclic compounds. Literature on acyclic and isocyclic compounds was covered only up through 1959. Literature references back to 1771 are included in this compilation.

We do not have a subscription to the electronic version of Beilstein, which has been merged with other databases into Elsevier's Reaxys system. If essential, and funding can be supplied, Beilstein content can be searched on STN International by our chemical information specialist, A. Ben Wagner.

Beilstein is used to locate information on organic compounds such as:

  • Constitution / Configuration, including structure diagram
  • Chemical behavior / Reactions
  • Natural Occurrence / Isolation
  • Preparation / Purification
  • Characterization / Analysis
  • Structural / Energy Parameters
  • Salts and additional compounds
  • Physical properties
  • Handling techniques with literature references
  • Structural formula and compound name

How is Beilstein Organized?

The handbook is published in series, each covering scientific literature of a certain time period. Each series consists of nominally 27 volumes which often are subdivided into several physical subvolumes in the supplementary series.

SERIES: Basic
ABBREVIATION: H
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL ON VOLUME SPINE: German / Green
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: up to 1909


SERIES: Supplementary Series I
ABBREVIATION: E I
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL ON VOLUME SPINE: German / Red
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: 1910 - 1919


SERIES: Supplementary Series II
ABBREVIATION: E II
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL ON VOLUME SPINE: German / White
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: 1920 - 1929


SERIES:Supplementary Series III
ABBREVIATION: E III
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL ON VOLUME SPINE: German / Blue
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: 1930 - 1939


SERIES: Supplementary Series III/IV
ABBREVIATION: E III/IV
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL ON VOLUME SPINE: German / Blue - Black
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: 1930 - 1959


SERIES:Supplementary Series IV
ABBREVIATION: E IV
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL ON VOLUME SPINE: German / Black
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: 1950 - 1959


SERIES: Supplementary Series V
ABBREVIATION: E V
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL ON VOLUME SPINE: English / Red
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: 1960 - 1979



INDEXES: Centennial Index
COVERAGE: H, E I to E IV
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL IN VOLUME SPINE: German / Blue
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: up to 1959


INDEXES: Collective Index
COVERAGE: E V
LANGUAGE & COLOR LABEL IN VOLUME SPINE: English / Red
PERIOD OF LITERATURE COVERED: 1960 - 1979


Science & Engineering Information Center Holdings

Basic
Volumes 1-27


Supplementary Series I
Volumes 1-27 plus chemical name and formula indexes designated as v. 28 & 29 covering the Basic & Supple. Series I.


asic + Supple. Series I
Volumes 30-31 (Natural products not elsewhere covered)


Supplementary Series II
Volumes 1-27 plus chemical name and formula indexes designated as v. 28 & 29 covering the Basic & Supple. Series I. & II.


Supplementary Series III
Volumes 1-16 (acyclic & isocyclic compounds)


Supplementary Series III & IV
Volumes 17-27 (Heterocyclic compounds, both supplementary series merged together into a single set of volumes)


Supplementary Series IV
Volumes 1-16 (acyclic & isocyclic compounds)


Supplementary Series V*
Volumes 17-26/Pt. 17 (heterocyclic compounds, in English)


Centennial Index
Sachregister vols. 1-10 ; Formel vols. 1-13


Centennial Index
Compound-Name vols. 17-22 ; Formula vols. 17-2


*Note that volumes 1-16 were never published in print for the Supplementary Series V. Also note that our print subscription ended with part 17 of Vol. 26 of the 5th Supplementary Series. Hence any additional parts of V. 26 (if any, though v. 26 appears very nearly complete) and all of V. 27 are not available in hard copy here at UB.

The individual compounds are arranged according to the Beilstein System which classifies all organic compounds according to their structure. Compounds are first classified by Ring Class -- either acyclic, isocyclic or heterocyclic.

Division Vols. System Nos. Contents
1 1-4 1-499. Acyclic -- contains no rings --carbon chain.
2 5-16 450-2358 Isocyclic -- contains carbon-only (single element) rings
3 17-27 2359-4720 Heterocyclic compounds - rings with more than 1 element.
3 28-29 All Comprehensive Chemical Name and
Molecular Formula Indexes
4 30-31 4723-4767 Natural Products not assigned to divisions 1-3
(Discontinued after the Basic & Supplementary Series I)

How do I use Beilstein?

You will need to look up your substance in the appropriate index. First, use the Centennial Index since it covers literature published up to 1959. Since the Name Index (General-Sachregister) lists substances by their German name, use instead the Formula Index (General-Formelregister) which lists substances by their molecular formula in Hill order (C, H, then all other elements in alphabetical order). Whether or not you find the substance you are looking for in the Centennial Index, you will need to check the Collective Index for additional information that is located in the Supplementary Series V. Derivatives will appear under the parent name.


How do I locate a Compound?

  1. How to locate C5H5N or Pyridine in the Centennial Index
    To look up the compound C5H5N by Formula, use the Formula Index (Formel register). The entry reads:

C5H5N
Pyridin 20, 181c, I 54c, II 96b, IV 2205.

To look up the compound Pyridine by Name. Use the Name Index (Sachregister) in which the entry reads:

Pyridin 20, 181c

Pyridine is in volume 20
of the Basic Series
(Hauptwerk H) on page
(seite) 181.

I 54c

The 1st Supplemental
(Erstes Erganzungswerk
E I ) has an entry in
volume 20, page 54.

II 96b

The 2nd Supplemental
(Zweites
Erganzungswerk E II)
has an entry in volume
20, page 96.

IV 2205

The 4th Supplemental,
which really is E III/E
IV, volume 20, page
2205.

You will notice that in each Supplementary Series, the volume number will remain the same since in the Beilstein System, Pyridine is a heterocyclic compound without a function group. A search in the Collective Index for Pyridine reveals that there is no entry.

  1. How to locate C12H9N or Carbazole in the Collective Index
    To look up the compound C12H9N, use the Formula Index. The entry reads:



Carbazole 20

Carbazole is located in volume 20.

8 V9

Part 8 of the 5th Supplemental Series (V) on page 9.

*The Name Index will direct you to the same entry for your compound.

On occasion, you may run across an index entry such as : vgl 22 II 619. The vgl means compare additional information in volume 22, 2nd supplemental (II), page 619.


How do I read the Entry? It's in German!

Beilstein follows a certain order for presenting information in each entry. Basically, all the entries include, in the following order:

Name of Compound
Molecular and structural formula
Back reference to a previous supplementary series
General references to journal articles = Literatur
Occurrence = V or Vorkommen
Formation = B or Bildungweisen
Preparation = Darst. or Darstellung
Physical Properties = Physikalische Eigenschaften
Chemical Reactions and Behavior = Chemisches Verhalten
Analytical Information = Analytisches
Salts = Salze

Besides Beilstein's order for each entry, there are many reference tools in the library to assist you. Use a German-English science dictionary to translate unfamiliar words. All of the foreign language dictionaries are located in the first row of the reference collection.

Beilstein German → English and English → German Dictionary (Springer) - digitized by Stanford University Libraries by permission for educational use only.

Patterson's German-English dictionary for chemists [Highly Recommended]
Silverman (Capen) Library Ref QD 5 . P3 1992

Beilstein dictionary : German-English, for users of the Beilstein handbook of organic chemistry.
Silverman (Capen) Library Ref QD 251 .B4395 1990

The Beilstein guide : a manual for the use of Beilsteins Handbuch der organischen Chemie.
Silverman (Capen) Library Ref QD 251 .B4 W5

Cassell's German - English, English - German dictionary.
Silverman (Capen) Library Ref PF 3640 .B45 1978

Dictionary of chemistry and chemical engineering.
Silverman (Capen) Library Ref QD 5 .D47 1987

How to use Beilstein : Beilstein handbook of organic chemistry.
Silverman (Capen) Library Ref QD 251 B43 .H6

A brief introduction to the use of Beilstein's Handbuch der organischen chemie.
Silverman (Capen) Library Ref QD 251 .B43


References to Beilstein

Other reference sources, besides the Centennial and Collective indexes, cite volume, series and page numbers to certain organic compounds found in Beilstein.

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Silverman (Capen) Library Reference QD 65 .C4
In the CRC, Section 3-1 to 3-330, Physical Constants of Organic Compounds.

Lange's Handbook of Chemistry. Silverman (Capen) Library Reference QD 65 .L16
In Lange's, Section 1.74 to 1.325, Physical Constants of Organic Compounds. /p>

Properties of Organic Compounds. Silverman (Capen) Library Reference Stand-alone CDROM Workstation

*Note, these other reference sources are not comprehensive indexes to Beilstein

For additional assistance in using Beilstein in print or electronically, please contact A. Ben Wagner, the University Libraries Chemistry Subject Specialist.