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Reactions & Reagents

Properties & Identification

Nomenclature & Terms


Literature Search

Keeping Current


e-book Electronic resource
U.T. restricted UT-Austin restricted
print Print resource
recommended resource Recommended

Looking Up Preparations

When you need to find a method for preparing a specific compound, these are the top go-to resources.


U.T. restricted

If you suspect or know that the compound has been known for some time, Reaxys is the best place to start a wide search. Beilstein's coverage of the organic literature was fairly comprehensive up to 1959, though thereafter its coverage became much more selective. Here's the quickest way to search Reaxys:
  1. Search for the compound by drawing its exact structure in the structure drawing window. If you also have a starting material, use the Reactions search tab to draw the scheme you're most interested in. You can define a participant as a product, starting material, or catalyst/reagent. The "Reaction Data" form below gives you a place to specify yield or names.
  2. Scan the results for the correct structure you're after. In the "No. of preparations" column click on the prep total to pull up a list of reported preparations and the source references.
  3. Alternately, you can use the "AutoPlan" feature to compile your own methodologies with different materials.

U.T. restricted

SciFinder gives you the most complete picture of the chemical literature up to last week. Use SciFinder first if you suspect or know that the substance was first synthesized and reported more recently. CAPLUS indexes preparations back to 1907 but its coverage is strongest after 1965, and in recent years has been much wider than Reaxys. Here's the fastest way to find documents reporting a preparation.

  1. Select "Explore Substances" and search for the compound by structure, name, molecular formula, or, if you already know it, its CAS Registry Number.
  2. Check the substance record to make sure it's exactly what you want. Click "Get References".
  3. From the table, select "Preparation" to limit your retrieval to documents that reported a prep for this compound.
  4. Alternately, you can click "Get Reactions" from the compound record, select Product as its reaction role, and retrieve relevant reactions, which you can then further analyze by reaction details (catalyst, yield, solvent, steps, etc.).
Organic Syntheses
print QD 262 O7 Reference
(Wiley, 1921- )
"Annual collections of detailed, reliable, and carefully checked procedures for the synthesis of organic compounds. Some procedures describe practical methods for the preparation of specific compounds of interest, while other procedures illustrate important synthetic methods with general utility. Each procedure is written in considerably more detail as compared to typical experimental procedures in other journals, and each reaction and all characterization data has been carefully checked for reproducibility in the laboratory of a member of the Board of Editors."

The annual volumes are periodically revised and reissued in Collective Volumes. If you have a citation to the original OS annual reference, translate this to a CV page number by checking the concordances in the back of the appropriate collective volume. The latest Cumulative Index contains nine separate indexes: name and CA name, reaction type, compound type, formula, solvents and reagents, apparatus, author, and general subject/name. The "Reaction Guide" (1991) summarizes in structural diagram format all procedures published in the series through CV-7. Reactions are classified into one of eleven types.

New annual volumes are shelved in Reference until superseded by a Collective Volume. Older annual volumes are shelved in the book stacks. A free web version of the entire series is also available. (Read the browser, system, and plugin requirements carefully.) OS reactions are indexed in the CASREACT file of SciFinder.

Other useful tools:

Combined Chemical Dictionary recommended resource U.T. restricted
Most entries have a select bibliography that includes synthesis references.

Compendium of organic synthetic methods.
(Wiley, 1971- )
print QD 262 C53
Systematic listing of selected functional group transformations from the literature, classified by functional group of starting material and product. See introduction for instructions. Published irregularly.

Heterocycles: Natural Products Syntheis
Database of 23,000+ natural products with a heterocyclic ring system, collected from current chemical literature, whose synthesis has been established. (JIHC)

Merck Index
print Handbook Table
Most Merck entries contain literature or patent references to reported preparations or isolations.

Pharmaceutical substances : syntheses, patents, applications.
(4th ed., Thieme, 2001, 2 vol. )
print RS 156 K5413 2001
Describes the production and isolation processes of 2267 active pharmaceutical substances that are or have been marketed. Each entry contains references to patents and journal articles in addition to the synthesis scheme, trade names, and other identifiers. Indexes by trade name, intermediate, and substance class in vol. 2.


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