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Introduction to Chemistry Databases Essential Skills for Chemists CHE100 School of Biological and Chemical Sciences 2016

S&E Teaching & Learning Support Team

James Soderman – Faculty Liaison Librarian for Science and Engineering Victoria Hart – Information Assistant

This is my first year at a university

A. True B. False

Which of these resources have you used in the past while researching? A. B. C. D. E. F.

Library Discovery Google/Baidu Google Scholar Reaxys Web of Science Library Subject Guides

Did you know? 2000: billion scholarly individualarticles documents 2010:roughly roughly550 50 million in online existence From: Bergman JK. White paper: the deep web : surfacing hidden value. J Electron From: Jinha AE. Article 50 million: an estimate of the number of scholarly articles in Publ. [internet]. 2001 [cited in 8 July 2015]; 7(1). Available at: DOI: existence. Learned Publishing, 2010; 23(3), pp. 258-263


Learning Objectives By the end of this session you should be able to: • Carry out effective preparation for searching databases • Locate and access a range of chemistry databases • Understand how and when to use the databases Web of Science, Reaxys and IPCS INCHEM 1/13/17

Subject Support Guides

From the Library Website investigate the Subject Guide for Chemistry 1/13/17


Journals  Also known as periodicals  Print and electronic formats  Four reasons to use them: A rich source of current research information Specific and detailed coverage of subjects Peer-reviewed Recommended by your lecturers


Peer-Review  Panels of experts examine the information contained in an academic book or journal and assess its quality  If peer-reviewed information is of a low quality the author will be asked to amend any mistakes before it is published, or the piece of work will be rejected  This process prevents the dissemination of irrelevant findings, unwarranted claims, unacceptable interpretations, and personal views 1/13/17

Example of a Journal Reference


If you were asked to find the melting point for a specific compound where would you look?

A. B. C. D.

Google Wikipedia Academic Journal Chemical Database



Databases: what are they?  Databases are searchable indexes of high-quality academic literature, such as journal articles and conference proceedings  Some include valuable data about reactions, spectra, synthesis and properties of substances  Specialist databases can also be used to search for safety information 1/13/17

Accessing Chemistry Databases  You can access relevant databases via the Library’s Subject Guides webpages for Chemistry:


Off-Campus Login •


Off-campus you must log into e-resources using your Queen Mary username and password

Major search tool comprised of 3 indexes that provide multidisciplinary coverage of academic literature (Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index). The Science Citation Index covers almost 7000 journals from 1952 onwards. Use for searching the chemical literature


Provides access to Beilstein (organic) Gmelin (inorganic) and patent chemistry databases. It covers over 200 years of primary literature and contains data on structures, reactions, facts and citations for more than 11 million organic, inorganic and organometallic compounds. Use for finding out about the properties of substances, and information about reactions and synthesis and literature to cite! 1/13/17

IPCS INCHEM  Provides chemical safety information



Preparation  Develop a search strategy  Select an appropriate database, e.g. Web of Science  Combine search terms using Boolean operators – AND, NOT, OR 1/13/17

Developing a Search Strategy To search for information effectively you will need to:  Identify important concepts and choose keywords  These will include synonyms e.g. polythene, polyethylene, plastics, thermoplastic polymers  and related terms e.g. treated compounds, ionized free radicals 1/13/17

Wildcards  Many information resources allow you to make your searches more effective by using the wildcard symbols *, ? and $  * represents any number of characters, including zero characters  ? represents any single character  $ represents zero or one character


Wildcards  Wildcard examples:  microscop* finds microscope, microscopic, microscopy, etc.  polymeri?ation finds both polymerisation and polymerization  colo$r 1/13/17

finds both colour and color

Phrase Searching To search for an exact phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks  For example, the query "ionized free radicals" will retrieve records that contain the exact phrase ionized free radicals


Combining Concepts

Consider how to combine concepts using specific search fields - using Boolean operators AND, NOT, OR


Boolean Operators


synthesis AND polymers

Search for articles that contain both of the search terms. Using AND narrows your search


synthesis OR polymers

Search for articles that contain one or both of the search terms (useful for synonyms). Using OR broadens your search


synthesis NOT polymers

Search for articles that contain the first term and do not contain the second term. Using NOT narrows your search


Boolean Search String Game U-boat Curie: French Fiasco

Marie Curie : Heroine of Chemistry

Pierre Curie: A Life Cut Short

Radioactive: The science of Curie

Curie Chemistry OR Science CurieAND NOTChemistry Submarine 1/13/17



By Vincent de Groot (Own work) [ GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

S.Sahoo, D.Sharma, R. Bera, G.Crisponi, J.Callan, Chemical Society Reviews, 2012, 41, 7195-7227. Use Web of Science to find this journal article and answer the following: 1) How many references are cited by the authors? 2) How many times has the article been cited? 3) Can you access the full text of this article? 1/13/17


What to do if you only get a few results?  Spelling – if you are using a US database you may need to use either US spelling or wildcards such as ? to replace the letter that is different in each spelling. E.g. to search a US database for organisations you could use the US spelling organizations or type organi?ations into the search box  Include all possible synonyms. Use a thesaurus to find alternative terms that describe the subject you are researching  Use broader search terms 1/13/17

What to do if you only get a few results? Snowballing  If you find one relevant reference you can use it to help you find others  Check the references and bibliography at the end of the article for related works  Many databases provide direct links to related articles displayed in these fields 1/13/17

What to do if you only get a few results?  Truncate your terms – add an asterisk * after the root of the word you are using as a search term. The database will find references that contain all endings of the term you have used  E.g. develop* will find references containing the terms developing, development, developmental, etc. 1/13/17

What to do if you get too many results?  Use more search terms linked with AND between each term  E.g. if you wanted to find references about synthesis especially concerned with riboflavin and the xylene ring, type synthesis AND riboflavin AND xylene


What to do if you get too many results?  Exclude irrelevant subjects by typing NOT before the term you wish to exclude  E.g.: if you wished to find references about synthesis, but not those about xylene, type synthesis NOT xylene


What to do if you get too many results?  Use the search fields to limit your results by date range. E.g. if you were looking for the very latest research on a particular subject you could type 2010-2014 in the date field of the search options  Limit your search to particular fields, e.g. enter your search terms in the title field of the search options 1/13/17


Boric acid - BH3O3

Using Reaxys, answer the following: 1) What is the molecular weight? 2) What is the melting point (provide citation)? 3) What is the density (provide citation)? 1/13/17

Reaxys – Help For an excellent introduction to the key features of the database, click on Help in the toolbar at the top of the Reaxys homepage:


If you are looking for a specific book where should you look first? A. Web of Science B. Reaxys C. Library Discovery

What are the strengths of journals? A. A rich source of current research information B. Specific and detailed coverage of subjects C. Peer-reviewed

You search: Chemist* NOT reaction, which titles will most likely appear?

A. Oil reactivity B. Chemistry: a theory C. Chemical reactions

Which of these strategies will not be suitable if you have too many results? A. Using the stem of your search term with an asterisk (electric*) B. Snowballing C. Adding another relevant search term



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