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Other Review Sources

Science of Synthesis (Houben-Weyl)

NOTICE: As of January 2015, UT-Austin will no longer subscribe to Science of Synthesis. The print archive through 2014 as described below will remain available for use in the Chemistry Library.

CONNECT TO THE ONLINE VERSION (available until December 2014)

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 authored reviews on organic synthetic methods. Chapters contain experimental procedures, background information, and extensive bibliographies. Its purpose is to provide a direct path through the mass of primary literature 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. 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 Reaxys. SoS chapters provide numerous references to the primary 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. Since 2010 SOS has been continued by quarterly "Knowledge Updates" and occasional "Reference Library" topical overviews.


There are no printed substance indexes to the SoS 5th edition or its supplements. You have to browse for compounds by class/volume, and use the hierarchical tables of contents, which are available as free PDF files.

Volume E23 of the Houben-Weyl 4th edition supplementary series (the "E" volumes) is a multivolume structural formula index of reaction products by compound class, but it is not for the faint of heart. Vol. 16 of the earlier base set comprises indexes by experimental procedure and substance class for the 4th edition and E-Series volumes 1-5 and 11 (i.e. through about 1986).


Science of Synthesis volumes through 2014 are available in the Chemistry Library, alongside the the complete 4th edition of Houben-Weyl. They are shelved in Reference behind the Handbook Table. The volumes are non-circulating. [Catalog Record]