Raman spectroscopy has advanced considerably in the last several years due to rapid developments in instrumentation and the availability of theoretical methods for accurate calculation of Raman spectra, thus enormously facilitating the interpretation of Raman data. This review is restricted to cover papers mainly published in the Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, which serve to give a fast overview of recent advances in this research field as well as to provide readers of this journal a quick introduction to the various subfields of Raman spectroscopy. It also reflects the current research interests of the Raman community. Similar reviews of highly active areas of Raman spectroscopy will appear in future issues of this journal. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.