Chemical Information Retrieval CHEM367 and CHEM767 at Drexel University

Class Meetings

Th 6:00-8:50pm Class Room: Korman 111

Important note: CHEM367 is co-listed and meets concurrently with CHEM767.

Course Objectives

• to secure a basic grasp of the chemical literature and its derived electronic databases
• to develop insight into the cost and value of chemical information
• to develop a basic strategy to effectively search for relevant and high quality chemical information
• to secure an understanding of the scientific writing process
• to develop proficiency in writing selective reviews of the chemical literature


None required

List of Topics

• Introduction to the chemical literature
• Resources available through the Hagerty Library (guest lecturer, Peggy Dominy, Information Services Librarian for the Sciences, Hagerty Library)
• Creating and using your own bibliographic database; RefWorks and EndNote
• Finding chemical information in handbooks and encyclopedias; indexing
• Essentials of database structure
• Searching Chemical Abstracts; indexing and fields
• Focus on keywords: searching Chemical Abstracts on-line with SciFinder Scholar
• Focus on chemical substances using SciFinder Scholar
• Structure and substructure searching using SciFinder Scholar
• Citation searching: ISI’s Web of Science
• A bibliographic example (guest lecturer, Peggy Dominy Information Services Librarian for the Sciences, Hagerty Library)
• Searching that involves molecular structures and chemical and physical properties of substances: the Beilstein database
• Other physical property databases: NIST Webbook, CRC Handbook On-Line, NIH PubChem, eMolecules, ChemSpider, etc.
• Biological substance searching, particularly protein identification
• Patents
• Finding chemical safety information, using Material Safety Data Sheets
• Calculation of molecular properties- on-line tools
• Open Access, Open Data, Open Science and other copyright issues
• Peer review, Impact Factors
• Science 2.0 - blogs, wikis and other tools to allow reader participation
• Science 3.0 - semantic markup and automation
• other relevant current topics.....

Course Grading

In-class assignments, quizzes and homework assignments, 15%
In-class final exam- time limited, 25%
Research project, 60%

Research project

You must write a 3000 word paper on a research topic of your choosing but approved by the instructor. Use the bibliographic search techniques you learned in this course to prepare the cited reference list in your paper. You should include at least 20 references in your bibliography. Hyperlinks to references available electronically through the Hagerty library must be included using the digital object identifier (DOI). For articles that are not available directly electronically (such as those received via interlibrary loan) a password protected server will be provided to allow direct linking to the pdf.

Multimedia/creative option: Projects including a significant multi-media component may require less than 3000 words - provided instructor approval has been obtained. Examples would include projects in Second Life, JSpecView and Jmol, Facebook, screencasts, various audio and video combinations, etc.

ChemicalCrystallinity provides a post as a good example of an approach you can take in the case of an organic synthesis related project.

Project Deadline

Saturday, December 5, 2009 9:00 AM: The projects will be evaluated and graded. Manage your time wisely - no extensions will be given. Keep in mind that access to some databases (like SciFinder) may be limited at times. The instructor will provide feedback on your research log page over the course of the term and this will be considered in the evaluation of your grade for the project.

User Names

Since this is a public wiki you are not obliged to use your real name. It can be useful for your name to be indexed on search engines and you can use your work here to demonstrate your skills as part of a online portfolio. If you do not wish to use your full name consider using initials or a pseudonym - just email it to the instructor.