Project Details Development of an IUPAC Recommended Term Management System for Expansion of the Coverage of the IUPAC Compendium on Chemical Terminology

Project No.:
Start Date:
16 December 2019
End Date:


To update the Gold Book website by adding all PAC recommended terms that are deemed by Divisions to be appropriately defined and current.

This project will be staged in close collaboration between the Committee on Publications and Cheminformatics Data Standards (CPCDS) and the Interdivisional Committee on Terminology, Nomenclature and Symbols (ICTNS). It will be coordinated in two separate phases: a.)  by developing a test system to be applied on a small set of terms and, b.) by engaging Divisions in identifying, reviewing and updating terms in the emerging system.


Project 2016-046-1-024 “Backup, Maintenance, and Redevelopment of the IUPAC Gold Book website” is completed and a lot has been learned about the terms in the IUPAC Gold Book. In particular, an analysis of the term structure on the old website allowed the creation of a ‘schema’ for how content of terms should be organized. Combining this with the existing PAC recommendation guidelines enables new enhancements and opportunities for the Gold Book.

Over the course of the project above there were many opportunities to discuss what happens next. The availability of Gold Book terms to machines has prompted interest from the community for other terms to be added. These use cases serve as examples of how publication of the terms for computers enables a new capability to guide the chemistry community in the digital age. As a result of the discussions a consensus has formed around the following two ideas:

1. All PAC recommended terms that are deemed by Divisions to be appropriately defined and current, should be added to the Gold Book website
2. Once these terms have been integrated into the new site, the corpus of terms should then be repurposed to support the machine representation of chemical concepts in the broadest sense, to advance chemistry.

The first step toward both of these ideas is to configure and deploy an online system that manages the terms that Divisions define in PAC recommendations. Such a system should instantiate the current workflow for the development of new or updates of existing terms and would enable a mechanism to comment, edit, discuss and promulgate new terms (or revisions).

The need for this is urgent, as indicated by both the age of the most recently-added entries in the Gold Book and the number of requests to add new terms, yet the project is significant and involves a large community within IUPAC. As a result, the current project is to address idea 1 above, and that is a.) to develop a test system using a small set of terms and b.) to engage Divisions, providing time for them to identify, review and update terms. In order to develop a technical team to support a larger Gold Book, each of the Divisions of IUPAC will identify a liaison to the task group and learn the process by which the Gold Book website is currently maintained, and how the new term management system works.


July 2020 update – The Gold Book Task Group has been meeting since January 2020 with a focus on identifying a term (terminology entry) management system to allow migration of content from the recently updated Orange Book (Analytical Chemistry) and the upcoming 5th edition of the Green Book (Quantities, Units and Symbols in Physical Chemistry). This activity will pave the way for migrating content from other divisions (color books) in a subsequent project.

The group has identified several potential term management systems but is still evaluating the minimum requirements needed to accurately hold the new terms. Additionally, the group is developing the metadata schema for terms and will work with ICTNS to update the guidelines for constructing and terminology entry in a glossary. Finally, the group has identified mechanisms to transfer the content from the Orange and Green books and is working on updating the current formats of the material to fit the metadata schema.

Page last update 21 July 2020