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INTRODUCTION TO THE BEILSTEIN
AND GMELIN DATABASES
Margarete Bower
Chemistry Library
BEILSTEIN HANDBOOK OF ORGANIC
CHEMISTRY (In German originally)
 Friedrich Konrad Beilstein (1838 – 1906)
 Worked to collect all properties and reactions of organic
compounds together in one book or set of books
 Checked all data to determine if it was reliable
 Last edition would fill more than fifty shelves
Database includes:
 > 8 million organic compounds
 > 5 million chemical reactions
 > 35 million chemical property data
 > 200 types of properties and information to search
 References to the original reports in journal articles. Some as
old as the 1770’s.
Types of compounds:
 Organics
 Organometallics (limited types)
 Some biological molecules
Search for a compound by:
 Structure
 Exact match to structure
 Substructure search
 Chemical formula
 Chemical name or part of a name
Search for reactions by:
 Compound as a product
 Compound as a reactant
 Both product and reactant
 Reactions using specific catalysts, reagents or solvents
Other types of searches:
 Chemical or physical property
 For example, compounds that melt at a particular temperature
 Compounds that have reports of a particular property
 For example, compounds that have been isolated from natural
products
 Compounds that have vapor pressure data reported
 Combine structure and property search
 For example, all the esters of acetic acid that boil above 120
degrees
Types of properties that may be reported:
(Not all compounds have all properties.)
 Crystal structure, bond lengths, bond angles
 Boiling point, melting point, triple point, critical temperature
and pressure, vapor pressure
 Thermodynamic properties: enthalpy of formation, fusion, and
vaporization; free energy of formation; entropy; heat capacity
 Dissociation constants (pKa)

Ionization energy
 Optical data: index of refraction, circular dichroism
 Electrochemical data
 Spectra data: IR, NMR, UV-Vis, MS, Raman, luminescence,
fluorescence
 Isolation from natural products
 Properties of mixtures
 Pharmacological data
 Safety data
Search by compound name
 Not usually the best method because of many variations in the
form of chemical names
 Choose “Substance Identification” from the list at the left
 Double click on “Chemical Name” or “Chemical Name Segment”
 Use menu under “Relation” to choose the type of search
 Is = exact match to your term
 Contains = your term appears anywhere in the name
 Type your search term in the box under “ Field content”
 Click on “Start Search”
Search by molecular formula
 Count all the atoms of each kind
 List atoms in the order : C, H, all others in alphabetical order
 For example:
 C8H10N4O2
 C7H6BrNO , not BrC6H4CONH2
Property search example:
 Find a list of compounds that boil between 150 and 200
degrees and have data reported for the refractive index
 Choose:
 Boiling point > 150
 Boiling point < 200
 Refractive index (Leave Field Content box blank)
Structure search
 Click on “Draw Structure”
 In “Structure Editor” window select the pencil icon to draw or
edit a structure.
 Choose the type of atom, bond, and ring to draw from the row
at the top.
 Select the “erase” icon on the left and click on an atom or bond
to remove it.
 To change an atom or bond to another kind or to add a charge
or change other properties of an atom, click on it. Use the
window that opens.
 The computer fills in hydrogen atoms. You do not need to draw
them all.
 Transfer the structure to the search window by clicking on the
red crossed arrows.
 Check any options for the search conditions, if desired. The
box at the bottom should say “Substances”.
 Click on “Start Search”
 When the “Search Status Report” window opens, click on
“View” to see the answers.
 Click on a structure to see the full record for the compound.
Combining structure and data search
Reaction search
 Variation on a structure search
 Draw a structure for a product or a reactant or both
 Under “Editmode” from the top list choose “Reaction”
 Use the cursor to put a box around the chemical structure
 Click on either “Reactant” or “Product”
 Transfer the reaction to the search window by clicking on the red crossed
arrows
 The box at the bottom should say “Reactions”
 Click on “Start Search”
AUTONOM
 Draw the structure of an organic molecule
 Transfer the structure to the Autonom window by clicking on
the crossed red arrows
 Click on “Generate name”
 Autonom generates a systematic chemical name
GMELIN HANDBOOK OF INORGANIC
CHEMISTRY (In German orginally)
 Leopold Gmelin (1788 – 1853)
 Similar to Beilstein, but covers:
 Inorganic compounds
 Organometallics
 Coordination compounds
 Metals and alloys
 Minerals
 Elements
Search by:
 Structure
 Chemical formula
 Chemical name or chemical name fragment
 Reaction
 Chemical or physical property
Properties that may be available: (not every
compound has all properties)
 Crystal structure data, interatomic distances and angles.
 Physical properties: boiling point, melting point, vapor
pressure
 Bond dissociation energies, ionization energies
 Dielectric constant, dipole moment
 Thermodynamics data: enthalpies of formation, fusion and
vaporization; entropy; heat capacity

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