The Compendium is popularly referred to as the “Gold Book”, in recognition of the contribution of the late Victor Gold, who initiated work on the first edition. It is one of the series of IUPAC “Colour Books” on chemical nomenclature, terminology, symbols and units (see the list of source documents), and collects together terminology definitions from IUPAC recommendations already published in Pure and Applied Chemistry and in the other Colour Books.
Terminology definitions published by IUPAC are drafted by international committees of experts in the appropriate chemistry sub-disciplines, and ratified by IUPAC’s Interdivisional Committee on Terminology, Nomenclature and Symbols (ICTNS). In this edition of the Compendium these IUPAC-approved definitions are supplemented with some definitions from ISO and from the International Vocabulary of Basic and General Terms in Metrology; both these sources are recognised by IUPAC as authoritative. The result is a collection of nearly 7000 terms, with authoritative definitions, spanning the whole range of chemistry.
Some minor editorial changes were made to the originally published definitions, to harmonise the presentation and to clarify their applicability, if this is limited to a particular sub-discipline. Verbal definitions of terms from Quantities, Units and Symbols in Physical Chemistry (the IUPAC Green Book, in which definitions are generally given as mathematical expressions) were developed specially for this Compendium by the Physical Chemistry Division of IUPAC. Definitions of a few physicochemical terms not mentioned in the Green Book were added at the same time (referred to here as Physical Chemistry Division, unpublished).
The first reference given at the end of each definition is to the page of Pure Appl. Chem. or other source where the original definition appears; other references given designate other places where compatible definitions of the same term or additional information may be found, in other IUPAC documents. The complete reference citations are given in the appended list of source documents. Highlighted terms within individual definitions link to other entries where additional information is available.