Project Details Gold Book Update for Polymers

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
22 April 2020
End Date: 
Division Name: 


The New Gold Book <> has been put online as of July 2019, comprising the original Gold Book terms. The majority of the definitions date from before 2008.

Many of these terms are out-of-date, and there is a need to bring them into line with the revised and new definitions published in the source documents. This project task group from the Polymer Division will undertake the required update. It will not generate new recommendations, but rather, in a coordinated manner, sweep through polymer existing definitions and bring them into line with the latest IUPAC recommendations.


The task is to update the entries by correlating them with those given in the latest IUPAC recommendations; therefore, the terms published in Pure and Applied Chemistry will be the source considered for review. The team will first examine the current on-line polymer-based terms and categorize them into groups:
– Group A, in accordance with the most recent IUPAC publications;
– Group B, superseded by another document (e.g., Purple Book or Source document);
– Group C, revision required through a mechanism which is in accordance with Division IV and ICTNS protocols;
– Group D, terms which are obsolete and should be removed.
– Group E, terms which are in common use by the polymer community but are not allocated to the Division, and flag them to other divisions so that they are not changed in unexpected ways by another Division.

Further groups include:
– terms that will be required to be delivered, to be distributed to the current working Task Groups, or collected for future projects;
– terms that are identified as having multiple definitions from different divisions.

A prioritization of the work will then be carried out by the Task Group. Specifically, in Group B, revisions will be ordered with respect to their perceived significance. For Group C, a mechanism will be set up whereby any major modifications are reviewed by the Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology (SPT) for recommendation to Div IV in a normal process. This will be either key definitions dealt with by the whole of SPT (we expect this to be only a few terms) and grouped for verification by ICTNS, or sent to the specific Task Groups working in SPT for consideration, and publication through the normal review process. It is clear that this process will also generate many other terms for definition and where Task Groups are not active in these areas, the terms will be collected for future projects.

The terms from Group D will be flagged throughout the project and then reviewed, before deletion, by the whole of SPT through electronic exchanges.
The terms from Group E will be flagged to other divisions where there is a concern from the Polymer Division that any modification might have unexpected impacts on polymer terminology and nomenclature.

Some members of the task group are also members of the SPEd and/or projects involving Wikipedia within the SPT. During the development of the project, the Wiki community from other divisions within IUPAC will be approached.


The team will assemble for one whole day just prior to the yearly Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology (SPT) to work in a coordinated manner, and do this three times over a period of three years. In the intervening periods, they will work individually to replace text within the pages of the Gold Book, exchanging by mail and Skype to ensure that the work is done at a regular pace, and to coordinate verification of the work done.


April 2020 updated – At the moment we cannot estimate the number of terms that would belong to each suggested categories (see description), since such classification will be a central part of the project. However, a few terms such as atactic macromolecule, dispersity, macromonomer and prepolymer can be provided as example. It is worth noticing that many entries in the Gold Book differ from the updated versions by the indefinite article “a” or “an” as they appear in the so-called Purple Book, the “Compendium of Polymer Terminology and Nomenclature: IUPAC Recommendations 2008”, published in 2009. So, for the sake of unity, they should also be revised.

A closed collaboration with CPCDS is insured via Stuart Chalk, also TGC of the project redeveloping the term management system (project 2019-032-1-024)

Page last updated 22 April 2020