Review: Japanese-English Chemical Dictionary

Japanese-English Chemical Dictionary: Including a Guide to Japanese Patents and Scientific Literature. Edited by Markus Gewehr. Wiley-VCH, 2007. 680 p. $230 ISBN 978-3527312931

My library just received a copy of this very impressive reference work. The bulk of the book consists of a dictionary of more than 60,000 Japanese scientific and technical terms. I don’t read Japanese, but it appears very comprehensive and useful to anyone attempting to read Japanese patents and journal articles. The first part of the book consists of a half dozen chapters. Chapter 1 is an overview of the Japanese language. Chapter 2 describes the characteristics of Japanese scientific and technical publications. Chapter 3 covers naming chemical compounds. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on Japanese patent documentation and patent law. For me, these were the most interesting and useful sections. Chapter 4, Patent Documentation, was written by the editor, Markus Gewehr, and Irene Schellner of the Japanese Patent Information unit in the European Patent Office. This chapter has a tremendous amount of detailed information about the history and evolution of Japanese patent documents, search systems and numbering systems. Numerous tables provide details about kind codes, INID codes, headlines, etc. There’s also a good overview of the Japanese special classification systems known as the File Index (FI) and File Forming Terms (F-terms).

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