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Vol. 31 No. 4
July-August 2009

Bookworm | Books and publications hot off the press.
See also www.iupac.org/publications

Compendium of Polymer Terminology and Nomenclature, IUPAC Recommendations 2008
Richard G. Jones, Edward S. Wilks, W. Val Metanomski, Jaroslav Kahovec, Michael Hess, Robert Stepto, Tatsuki Kitayama (editors)
ISBN: 978-0-85404-491-7, RSC 2009

reviewed by Richard G. Jones

In 2002, the newly constituted Subcommittee on Macromolecular Terminology of Division IV of IUPAC set about the task of revising the Compendium of Macromolecular Nomenclature (the Purple Book) which was published in 1991 under the auspices of the Commission on Macromolecular Nomenclature of the then Macromolecular Division of IUPAC. Since then, the names of the division (now the Polymer Division), the sub-committee (now the Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology) and the Purple Book have all changed after the shear scale of the task was realized at a meeting of the editorial panel in Prague in the spring of 2006.

The Compendium of Polymer Terminology and Nomenclature as it now titled, is an expansion and revision of the earlier compendium. The 1991 Purple Book, which would have been more appropriately dubbed the Lilac Book, contained only nine chapters, whereas the new compendium has 22 chapters and is truly purple. Only four of the chapters of the early edition are retained in their original form and one chapter (nomenclature for regular single-strand and quasi-single-strand inorganic and coordination polymers) has been excluded from the new book pending major revisions in accordance with the 2005 edition of the Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry (the Red Book). Otherwise, except for Chapter 14, which is an introduction to polymer nomenclature, and Chapter 23, dealing with abbreviations for names of polymeric substances, the other chapters of the present compendium, after significant editorial corrections to conform with current IUPAC practice and style, are reproductions of official IUPAC recommendations originally published in Pure and Applied Chemistry.

The 1991 edition of the Purple Book contained two main sections, namely Definitions, having four chapters, and Nomenclature, having an introduction and five chapters. In keeping with the expansion of the work of the Polymer Division into topics related to polymeric and polymer-based materials, the first section of the present edition is renamed Terminology and increased to 13 chapters, and the second, the Nomenclature section has 10 chapters. In addition, the present edition retains a bibliography of biopolymer-related IUPAC-IUBMB nomenclature.

It is expected that later editions of the Purple Book will be released in electronic format over the Internet. This will enable ready incorporation of new chapters as they become available, an unparalleled means of remaining up to date.

Basic Guidelines to Polymer Nomenclature
A new task group of the Polymer Division has started a project to draft more basic guidelines to polymer nomenclature. The goal is to disseminate broadly a shorter and more easily assimilated guide to the essentials of polymer nomenclature. See description on page 26 (in print).

In conclusion, I should like to thank my co-editors Jaroslav Kahovec, Bob Stepto, Ted Wilks, Michael Hess, Tatsuki Kitayama, and Val Metanomski for their sterling efforts over the long period of time over which the book was being prepared for publication. Leaving aside the many hours of consultation, each played significant identifiable roles: it was Ted who volunteered to embark on the process of preparing the various chapters for publication and in so doing brought to light the scale of the task inherent in the incompatibilities of the styles used for journal manuscripts and those for book chapters; Jaroslav amazed us all as the ultimate proof reader and thereby probably the only person who will ever have read every word in the book; Bob assumed a similar responsibility for the terminology chapters but also constructed the indexes; Tatsuki prepared many of the chemical structures in the nomenclature section and Michael assumed responsibility for the cover; I took on the task of securing consistency of presentation and formatting throughout, and Val as the editor in chief of the first edition served as the elder statesman whose wise counsel was always available. In addition we are also very grateful to Aubrey Jenkins and Pavel Kratochvíl, past chairmen of the Commission on Macromolecular Nomenclature, for their invaluable contributions during the final stages of the editorial labors. However, my thanks to these colleagues are inevitably tinged with great sadness at the death in December 2008 of Val Metanomski who was only survived by his wife, Helena, for about a month before she too passed away. We hope that this new Purple Book serves as a fitting tribute to Val, maintaining the standards set by him within the 1991 edition, for clear and precise communication in polymer science.

For a listing of the table of contents, please visit the website below.

www.iupac.org/web/ins/2002-048-1-400

Richard G. Jones is chair of the IUPAC Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology.


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