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Welcome!

This site is designed to introduce you to chemical literature and provide you with direct links to electronic resources that you need for your chemistry coursework. Start with the Introduction or, if you feel confident, the Quiz. Then, explore the links under Data, Primary Sources, and Encyclopedias, etc. Finally, familiarize yourself with the guides under "How to...".

Have fun and provide feedback to help us make this site better.

Introduction

In order to find information you need in an efficient manner, it is useful to understand how chemical literature is created and disseminated. In the most simplified form, the process of research starts with an idea or a theory or a purpose. Experiments are performed to test that theory and data is collected in the process.

If the experiment is a success, the results are disseminated widely through presentations of papers at conferences and writing articles in scientific journals. When a novel idea or process is discovered, it is patented to preserve the authorís right to earn profit from it. Original articles and patents are generally referred to as primary literature.

When a topic has been researched and written about widely, the need for a summary is felt. A review of the developments in that topic is written giving a summary of the original theory, the successes, the failures, and the challenges that lie ahead. Examples of such compilations include a book, an encyclopedic article, a review article, and a newspaper article.

This distinction is important because different strategies need to be employed in order to find them. Scifinder, Applied Science & Technology and General Science Abstracts are sources to find primary literature (journal articles). Review articles are also found in these databases but chapters of books, and encyclopedic articles are not. The best way to find books is to search the online catalog CLIO. Use the table of contents and the index in the encyclopedia to find articles written in it.

Exercises

1. What type of chemical literature would be the BEST source to find the solubility of Benzoic Acid?

Data Handbooks
Databases
Books/Encyclopedias

2. What type of chemical literature would be the BEST source to find an explanation of how thin layer chromatography works?

Data Handbooks
Databases
Books/Encyclopedias

3. What type of chemical literature would be the BEST source to find an explanation of Friedel Crafts Reaction?

Data Handbooks
Databases
Books

4. You need to write a 2-page paper on fuel cells. Which source would you use to research this topic?

Data Handbooks
Databases
Encyclopedias

5. You need to write a two page paper on biodegradation of PVC. Which source do you think would be the most useful?

Data Handbooks
Databases
Encyclopedias

6. Where would you find information on total synthesis of quinine?

Data Handbook
Databases
Books/Encyclopedias

 

 

   
Copyright 2001 -- Columbia University Chemistry Department and CCNMTL