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The Sadtler Standard Spectra

The Sadtler Standard Spectra comprised one of the largest cumulations of published chemical spectra. Compounds represented in these sets are almost exclusively organic. All ceased print publication after 1996.

There are five large sets and several smaller sets (bound in green) shelved in the Spectra alcove:

Type Holdings No. of Spectra Indexes
Infrared Prism vols. 1-123 91,000 combined
Infrared Grating vols. 1-123 91,000 combined
Infrared Grating: Inorganics vols.1-5 1,300 in v.5
Ultraviolet vols. 1-170 48,140 combined
Proton NMR (100MHz) vols. 1-118 64,000 combined
Proton NMR (300MHz) vols.1-24 12,000 separate
Carbon-13 NMR vols. 1-210 42,000 combined, plus separate index set
Fluorescence vols.1-8 2,000 in v.8
Dyes/Stains/Pigments UV vols. 1-6 862 in v.6
DTA Thermograms vols.1-6 2,000 in v.6


Cumulative combined indexes of the five largest sets (IR Prism, IR Grating, UV, Proton NMR, and Carbon-13 NMR) are shelved together at the beginning of the Sadtler Standard Spectra sets. Smaller sets are indexed separately in the last volume of each. The Carbon-13 set also has its own index volumes. (The spectra themselves are in no particular order -- you can only locate them with the indexes.)

The indexes are divided into three sections: Molecular Formula, Alphabetical, Chemical Class. Each of these consists of two parts: the first covers spectra up to 1980, and the supplement covers 1981 to 1995; with 1996 covered in a separate appendix. Each index section indexes the five main sets of spectra. To avoid nomenclature problems, it's best to start with the Molecular Formula indexes. After locating your compound in the index, note the reference number from the appropriate column on the right, and then consult the appropriate Sadtler set and volume.

Index Descriptions

Molecular Formula Index Compounds are listed in this index in Hill formula order: number of carbon atoms first, then hydrogen, then other non-metal atoms in alphabetical order, Br, Cl, F, I, N, O, P, S, and Si. Other elements are listed in the M column. Compounds without carbon are found at the end of the index. Compounds with the same formula are sorted alphabetically by name under that formula.
Alphabetical Index Compounds are listed alphabetically by name of parent compound, followed by derivatives. Nomenclature closely follows older Chemical Abstracts (pre-9th CI) standards, but is not exactly equivalent. Sadtler assigns the parent name on the basis of a predefined priority of functionality, with substituents and/or derivatives specified alphabetically after the parent name. Ignore numbers, Greek letters, and isomerism designators when searching the alphabetical sequence. In addition to systematized names, many cross-references to frequently used trivial names can also be found. (See the index's introduction for further examples and explanation.)
Chemical Class Index Various functional groups are assigned a numeric code, found in the chart in the front of the index. Compounds are listed in the index by the three lowest codes, found in the FUNCTIONALITY columns. Complex compounds are given special designations (e.g. Y5, Steroids) and are found at the end of the index. See the introduction for a more thorough explanation of this index.
Molecular Weight Index (Proton NMR) Compounds are listed by increasing molecular weight, then alphabetically by name. If you know only the mol.wt. of an unknown, use this index to find a matching spectrum. This index contains only compounds that appeared in the Proton NMR set after 1981.
Peak Indexes Consult their introductions for instructions on how to use them. Manually coding the peaks of an unknown spectrum and matching them to the index is a tedious process.

The IR "Spec Finder" indexes allow you to locate IR Prism or Grating spectra (up to 1984) based on absorption peaks. The Carbon-13 set also has its own peak indexes. The UV Locator indexes are similar, but the library only has the pre-1972 and 1981-96 parts.

Example: You want to find the proton NMR spectrum of Benzophenone, 5-chloro-2-(methylamino)- . If you know that its molecular formula is C14H12ClNO, look up that formula in the formula indexes, and match the name. (This compound is in the Supplementary Index.) The NMR column shows that the spectrum is number 38148 in the NMR set . Note the other spectra types also available for this compound.

The spectrum page itself includes the structural formula, with solvent, sample purity, source, and equipment information. The NMR, 13C and UV spectra also give assigned peaks, and the UV spectra usually give the molar absorption coefficient (am).

For Librarians: Should you keep old Sadlter spectra?

Collections of printed reference spectra are not as critical to analytical research as they were years ago. Most patrons are probably unaware of their existence and will rarely know even to ask for them. The sets are arcanely indexed (especially for unknown searching) and generally require expert mediation to use correctly, making offsite storage less optimal. If a library's collection is incomplete, or lacks full indexes, there is little reason to keep them around. The NMR sets are low-resolution compared to today's instrumentation and are the least useful. UV is the most useful to retain, since UV spectral graphs can be difficult to find elsewhere and are more often requested by students. Sets covering specialized types of compounds, such as polymers, inorganics, commercial products, etc. are also worth retaining. Volumes that are retained should be rebound and the old binders discarded, to save shelf space improve long term preservation.

The online successor of the Sadtler Spectra is BioRad's KnowItAll system, which is not available at UT Austin.


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