Project Details IUPAC Color Book Data Management

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 April 2014
End Date:
01 September 2017
Division Name:
Committee on Publications and Cheminformatics Data Standards
Division No.:


An IUPAC data website will be developed to provide a central location for managing Color Book data, and ultimately all published data. The website will make it easy to manage and keep track of new items as they go through the creation, vetting, approval, and publication stages. Data management (e.g., of terminology, nomenclature, symbols, equations, etc) will be streamlined simplified for viewing, editing, and adding information by using web based templates as opposed to spreadsheets and documents. The advantage of this approach is that (1) the Gold Book is maintained as up-to-date as possible, and (2) when a new release of a color book is set to be published, the most current and authorized version of the data will be readily available from the website via customized scripts. This will enable timely publication cycles. Pending a successful project outcome, additional types of data (other than color book, for example equilibrium and solubility data) could be integrated into the IUPAC data website.


The project aims to migrate existing IUPAC color book data storage (e.g., XML, spreadsheets, documents) into a web accessible database. Using an open-source content management system, it will be possible to manage and track new terms as they go through the creation, vetting, approval, and publication stages. Existing data can also be easily edited if necessary. The project will write guidelines for use by PAC and Color Book editors on how to add items to the database with proper vetting and sign off so that the database is a true reflection of official and current IUPAC material.

The appearance of the website would be similar to that of the Gold Book website.

Using a content management system to interface with the database will make it easy to control access to view, edit, or add data. Currently, data is stored in documents and spreadsheets by various people. This poses challenges of ‘who has the latest version’ of the documents.

Once a database has been established, there are a number of possibilities. For example, a script could output all the data (including definition, synonyms, symbols, etc.) associated with ‘Analytical Chemistry’ in a readable format that could be pasted into Microsoft Word or other text editor. Such an approach would make it possible to release new editions every 2 years, for example, following the CRC handbook publication concept.

The website/database will be developed using free and open source software that will run on the current IUPAC servers. The website/database delivery will be designed/developed such that it will be easy to find individuals that are familiar with the software, and so maintain continuity of management as personnel change. The team will work closely with Color Book editors and ICTNS. Protocols for administration of the database will be developed with appropriate IUPAC governance bodies.


This project has been repurposed for the BACKUP, MAINTENANCE, AND REDEVELOPMENT OF THE IUPAC GOLD BOOK WEBSITE, project 2016-046-1-024.

Last updated 19 Sep 2017