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Landolt–Börnstein is the largest collection of critically evaluated property data in materials science and the closely related fields of chemistry, physics and engineering published by Springer Nature.
On July 28, 1882, Dr. Hans Heinrich Landolt and Dr. Richard Börnstein, both professors at the "Landwirtschaftliche Hochschule" (Agricultural College) at Berlin, signed a contract with the publisher Ferdinand Springer on the publication of a collection of tables with physical-chemical data. The title of this book "Physikalisch-chemische Tabellen" (Physical-Chemical Tables) published in 1883 was soon forgotten. Owing to its success the data collection has been known for more than a hundred years by each scientist only as "The Landolt-Börnstein".
1250 copies of the 1st Edition were printed and sold. In 1894, the 2nd Edition was published, in 1905 the 3rd Edition, in 1912 the 4th Edition, and finally in 1923 the 5th Edition. Supplementary volumes of the latter were printed until as late as 1936. New Editions saw changes in large expansion of volumes, number of authors, updated structure, additional tables and coverage of new areas of physics and chemistry.
The 5th Edition was eventually published in 1923, consisting of two volumes and comprising a total of 1,695 pages. Sixty three authors had contributed to it. The growth that had already been noticed in previous editions, continued. It was clear, that "another edition in approximately 10 years" was no solution. A complete conceptual change of the Landolt-Börnstein had thus become necessary. For the meantime supplementary volumes in two-year intervals should be provided to fill in the blanks and add the latest data. The first supplementary volume of the 5th Edition was published in 1927, the second in 1931 and the third in 1935/36. The latter consisted of three sub-volumes with a total of 3,039 pages and contributions from 82 authors.
The 6th Edition (1950) was published in line with the revised general frame. The basic idea was to have four volumes instead of one, each of which was to cover different fields of the Landolt-Börnstein under different editors. Each volume was given a detailed table of contents. Two major restrictions were also imposed. The author of a contribution was asked to choose a "Bestwert" (optimum value) from the mass of statements of an experimental value in the publications of different authors, or derive a "wahrscheinlichster Wert” (most possible value). The other change of importance was that not only diagrams became as important as tables, but that text also became necessary to explain the presented data.
The New SeriesEdit
The new concept of the 6th Edition – splitting of the edition in four volumes with a yet unknown number of sub-volumes – was a slight progress, but eventually, it has not proven to be of much use. Instead of publishing new editions of the data collection one after the other, the "New Series" concept was intended to publish independent volumes that were each to cover a certain closed theme. It was flexible enough to follow the changes in the scientific interest and abandon the previous structuring of physics and chemistry in favor of new themes. Thus, new subjects such as solid-state physics could easily be comprised in groups of volumes. This concept has been adhered to up to now.
The New Series represents over 520 books published between 1961 and 2018 and includes more than 220,000 pages covering mechanical, optical, acoustical, thermal, spectroscopic, electrical and magnetic properties among others. The New Series offers critically evaluated data by over 1,000 expert authors and editors in materials science.
Landolt–Börnstein books have gone through various digitization initiatives, from CD-ROM to FTP and PDF formats. Landolt–Börnstein books content is now available on SpringerMaterials, a comprehensive database for identifying material properties which covers data from materials science, physics, physical and inorganic chemistry, engineering and other related fields. SpringerMaterials offers advanced materials science-specific search functionality that allows easy retrieval of accurate results. Recently introduced SpringerMaterials Interactive is a set of advanced functionalities for visualizing and analyzing materials property data. Examples of these functionalities include interactive graphs, dynamic data tables, and side-by- side comparisons of materials/properties.