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Chemistry: Library Resources

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Abbreviations of Chemical Compounds

Enter an abbreviation [DMSO] & receive the full name of the compound [dimethyl sulfoxide].

Beilstein Dictionary

Hosted by Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library at Stanford University, the Beilstein Dictionary is a German-English, English-German chemistry dictionary. It contains "about 2,100 entries, including most German words occurring in the Beilstein Handbook, as well as common abbreviations."


A file of over 339,000 compounds of biomedical & regulatory interest; records include CAS Registry Numbers & other identifying numbers, molecular formula, generic names, trivial names, other synonyms, MeSH headings, & file locators which lead users to other files.

Chemistry Dictionaries

From Babylon Ltd., Chemistry Dictionaries provide definitions of chemistry terms from one or more dictionaries. Enter a term and receive definitions from several dictionaries.

Chemistry Dictionary for Word Processors

This resource is a chemistry dictionary that can be downloaded and used with Microsoft Office (Windows or Mac) or Open Office (Windows or Linux). It contains approximately 104,000 words, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Comprehensive Organic Chemistry. [SCIENCE REF QD 245 C65]
This six volume encyclopedic reference is organized topically rather than alphabetically, but volume 6 provides a detailed index.
Dictionary of Organic Compounds. [SCIENCE REF QD 246 D5 1996]
Alphabetical listing of organic compounds providing basic physical and chemical properties and bibliographic references. Nine volumes, of which the first six are content. Volumes seven through nine are indexes by name, molecular formula, and CAS Registry number, respectively.
Dictionary of Organometallic Compounds. [SCIENCE REF QD 411 D53 1984]
Similar to the Dictionary of Organic Compounds in layout and organization. Arranged alphabetically by the name of the metallic component of the compound. Two volumes (plus a third index volume) constitute the original work. Five supplementary volumes and a cumulative index have also been produced.
Electrochemical Dictionary

Hosted by the Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemistry at Case Western Reserve University, this dictionary contains over 800 terms. The definitions are concise and there are numerous cross references.

Encyclopedia of Analytical Instrumentation

Introductions to methods of instrumental analysis, including thermal, optical, chromatographic, and electrochemical methods as well as spectroscopy/spectrometry.

Eric's Weisstein's World of Chemistry

This online encyclopedia of chemistry contains nearly 500 entries. It's searchable and browsable.

Glossary of Terms Used in Photochemistry (3rd edition)

Issued as an IUPAC Recommendation in Pure and Applied Chemistry, this dictionary contains terms with concise definations used in photochemistry.  The glossary is available in PDF format.  There are no search capabilities.

Handbook of Inorganic Chemicals. [SCIENCE REF QD 155.5 P37 2003]
Arranged alphabetically by substance name, this resource lists over 2,000 inorganic compounds. Entries include CAS registry number, synonyms, molecular weight, formula, occurrence, uses, properties, preparation, reactions, and analysis information.
IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology

Also know as the Gold book, the IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology is compiled by international committees of experts, and is ratified by IUPAC's Interdivisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols. It contains over 6,500 entries from primary specifications. The 1997 edition of the Gold Book is available for download from the same site.

IUPAC World Wide Web Material

Contains several IUPAC glossaries & nomenclature recommendations.

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. [SCIENCE REF TP 9 E685 1999]
Multivolume encyclopedia covering all aspects of applied chemistry. Although older, the articles are generally very readable and accessible to the non-specialist.
Macmillan Encyclopedia of Chemistry. [SCIENCE REF QD 4 M33 1997]
Excellent source for introductory information on chemical subjects. Four volume set containing signed articles with bibliographies.
Medicinal Plants of the World: Chemical Constituents, Traditional, and Modern Medicinal Uses

This encyclopedic work covers the medicinal uses for plants from around the world. It includes illustrations and descriptions of each plant, all of which are cross-referenced. It also contains the plant's chemical constituents and usage.

Merck Index. [SCIENCE REF RS 51 M4 2013]
An encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs, & biologicals; each entry contains molecular formulas & weights, chemical names, manufacturer & distributors, CAS Registry numbers, physical & toxicity data, uses, and bibliographic citations to the literature.
Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary

Merriam-Webster contains definitions of more than 59,000 medical terms. The dictionary may be searched or browsed, and links to additional information on other health and medical Web sites are also provided.

Oxford Reference Online: Science and Technology

Oxford Reference Online provides access to several chemistry resources. They may be searched together at the link above or separately at the links below:

Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Database

Database of plants, their chemicals, and their effects. Includes an ethnobotanical dictionary.


Proteopedia is a wiki-based resource containing information about proteins, RNA, DNA, and other macromolecules.  It can be accessed using a table of contents, a structure index, or a search engine.