Project Details Revision of the \"Silver Book\" : Compendium of Terminology and Nomenclature of Properties in Clinical Laboratory Sciences

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 May 2008
End Date:
31 December 2017
Division Name:
Chemistry and Human Health Division
Division No.:


Update all the ten chapters of the first edition of the Silver Book to integrate recommendations and standards published by IUPAC, IFCC, ISO…

The earlier edition of the Compendium of Terminology and Nomenclature of Properties in Clinical Laboratory Sciences was Recommendations 1995, by J.C. Rigg, S.S. Brown, R. Dybkaer, and H. Olesen, and published by Blackwell Science, 1995 [ISBN 0-86542-612-0]


We want to take into account two aspects. The first one is that considerable progress has been made in the harmonization of metrological concepts, definitions and terms. The finalization of the third edition of the International Vocabulary of Metrology – Basic and General Concepts and Associated Terms (VIM) is a good example. The second is that many fields of the clinical sciences have expanded and some new disciplines have appeared necessitating additional subjects based on recommendations published by various national, regional and international bodies. The interrelationships between different disciplines regarding clinical laboratory sciences necessitates a common structure and language for data exchange.


Project announcement published in Chem. Int. Nov-Dec 2008

The book will be structured as follows:

  • history of recommendations on quantities and units in clinical laboratory sciences
  • definitions of disciplines applied in the clinical laboratory
  • conventions and instructions for use
  • fundamental concepts: system, component and entity, process
  • principles and practice of quantities and units
  • requesting, generating, and transmitting clinical laboratory data
  • choice and use of kinds-of-quantity for different analytical purposes
  • kinds-of-quantity of dimension one: SI unit 1
  • kinds-of-quantity of dimension other than one
  • bibliography and indexes

October 2014 update: A Technical report prepared by Georges Ferard and Rene Dybkaer and entitled “The NPU format for clinical laboratory science reports regarding properties, units, and symbols” (Pure Appl. Chem., 2014, Vol. 86, No. 12, pp. 1923-1930; DOI 10.1515/pac-2013-0920). The document recalls the definitions of the concepts used to express a property of a patient, regarded as a system. The aim is to promote by this comprehensive summary the proper NPU terminology for reliable exchange of patient examination data. The use of this syntax and of SI units enables the translation of these descriptions into other languages without loss of meaning or accuracy. The NPU format is also well adapted for comparative and epidemiological studies. More information will be found in the upcoming 2nd edition of the Compendium of Terminology and Nomenclature of Properties in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, the IUPAC and IFCC ‘Silver Book’, and in the recently published ‘Properties and units in the clinical laboratory sciences. Part XXIII. The NPU terminology, principles, and implementation: A user’s guide’ (IUPAC Technical Report) (Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 1, pp. 137-165;

book-RSCsilverbook2016October 2015 update – the provisional recommendations titled ‘Compendium of Terminology and Nomenclature of Properties in Clinical Laboratory Sciences’ is made available for public review until 29 February 2016. The resulting book will be produced by RSC.

Dec 2016 update – the resulting book has been published by RSC in November 2016:

April 2017 update – “Understanding the ‘Silver Book’ — An important reference for standardised nomenclature in clinical laboratory sciences” is a short and handy review of the book, published in Clin Chim Acta 2017;467:4-7;

May 2017 update – the book announcement in Chem Int (Apr 2017) was published along with a handy 4-page pull-out which offers a concise summary.
Link to book announcement:
Link to pull-out PDF (

May 2018 update – small corrigendum announced in CI Apr 2018, p. 45 <>

Page last updated 2 May 2018