Project Details Preferred names in the nomenclature of organic compounds

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 October 2001
End Date:
31 December 2013


Revision of the Blue Book (Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry, 1979) and the Guide (Nomenclature of Organic Compounds, 1993) to select the ‘Preferred IUPAC Name’ to be used in legal situations, with manifestations in patents, export-import regulations, health and safety information, etc., when several IUPAC names are recommended.


Chemical nomenclature is used to identify a chemical species by means of written or spoken words and enables a common language for communication amongst chemists. Nomenclature for chemical compounds additionally contains an explicit or implied relationship to the structure of the compound, in order that the reader or listener can deduce the structure from the name. This purpose requires a system of principles and rules, the application of which gives rise to a systematic nomenclature. Of course, a wide range of traditional names, semisystematic or trivial, are also in use for a core group of common compounds. Detailing the latest rules and international practice, this new volume can be considered a guide to the essential organic chemical nomenclature, commonly described as the “Blue Book”. An invaluable source of information for organic chemists everywhere and the definitive guide for scientists working in academia or industry, for scientific publishers of books, journals and databases, and for organisations requiring internationally approved nomenclature in a legal or regulatory environment.


Recent relevant publications:

  • Nomenclature of Fused and Bridged Fused Ring Systems, Pure Appl. Chem., 70(1), 143-216, 1998
  • Extension and Revision of the Nomenclature for Spiro Compounds, Pure Appl. Chem., 71(3), 531-558, 1999
  • Extension and Revision of the Von Baeyer System for Naming Polycyclic Compounds (including Bicyclic Compounds), Pure Appl. Chem., 71(3), 513-529, 1999
  • Revised Section F: Natural Products and Related Compounds, Pure Appl. Chem.,71(4), 587-643, 1999
  • Corrections to A guide to IUPAC nomenclature of organic compounds, Pure Appl. Chem., 71(7), 1327-1330, 1999

A complete draft document has been submitted to public review comments until 31 March 2005 (reports/provisional/abstract04/favre_310305.html)

Dec 2013 – The hardback has been published by RSC (ISBN 978-0-85404-182-4) [link to RSC book page]

project completed – last update 14 Feb 2014

> see IUPAC Blue Book page