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Vol. 26 No. 4
July-August 2004

The Project Place | Information about new, current, and complete IUPAC projects and related initiatives
See also www.iupac.org/projects

Graphical Representation Standards for
Chemical Structure Diagrams

Although some existing IUPAC nomenclature recommendations already discuss some aspects of chemical structure diagrams, they do so only tangentially. Even if they were to be collected in one location, these existing recommendations on chemical structure diagrams are incomplete, and do not discuss many basic issues. As a result, many organizations have formulated their own guidelines for creating chemical structure diagrams; however, none of those guidelines is comprehensive. Provision of a single, comprehensive set of guidelines for creating chemical structure diagrams would be a significant benefit to the chemistry community and the aim of this project is to provide such a set of guidelines for creating chemical structure diagrams in printed and in electronic media.

An IUPAC project titled “Graphical Representation Standards for Chemical Structure Diagrams” has recently begun with a “scoping exercise” in which some 20 members of the chemistry community were invited to discuss those aspects of creating chemical structure diagrams that are amenable to standardization through IUPAC recommendations. Some draft recommendations were created during the course of that scoping exercise, and these will serve as a useful starting point. The participants also identified several areas that are likely to be contentious or otherwise were incompletely specified; those areas will receive specific attention during the course of the project. Polymer representations are excluded for now but will be addressed later; one or more polymer nomenclature experts will than be added to the task group.

With the ever-increasing importance of electronic publication, this project will consider issues related to the production of chemical structure diagrams both in printed and in electronic media. Where possible, every effort will be made to ensure identical recommendations in all media. The recommendations for the production of chemical structure diagrams will aid in the correct recognition of structural information by the IUPAC/NIST Chemical Identifier algorithm.

In some cases, the current state of chemistry software may preclude the use of the most-preferred styles for chemical structure diagrams. When necessary, this project will also provide practical advice for the production of electronic chemical structure diagrams according to the current state of the art of chemistry software. It is likely that this project will also produce a set of recommendations for enhancing chemistry software.

For more information, contact the Task Group Chairman William G. Town <bill.town@kilmorie.com>.

www.iupac.org/projects/2003/2003-045-3-800.html


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