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December 14, 2012
The Merck Index
So the Royal Society of Chemistry has bought the Merck Index, and plans to try to raise its profile, especially online. I wish them luck, but I'm not sure how well that's going to work out. I have a copy, but it's an old one that I got for free when a library turned over its stock. There are years that go by that its pages stay undisturbed.
I think that the chemical substance entries on Wikipedia, among other things, have moved into the space once occupied by reference works like this. Now, it's true that many people would rather point to a standard reference work like the Merck Index than to Wikipedia, and that may well be the market right there. Is there, or can there be, more of one? An advertiser-supported online substance reference might have a niche, but it would have been a bigger niche if it had been colonized ten years ago.
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