We need to consider the question of information retrieval in chemistry, which takes several forms: sometimes you need to find what's been done in the lab and what's been written about some substance (a literature problem), but again and again you'll be presented with the question what IS this stuff? --sometimes with a sample, sometimes with a name, sometimes with a molecular structure. We'll talk about different ways to approach finding answers, keeping in mind that (in general) you should look in many places, because you'll find different sorts of things by exploring. Here's a link to an example of a specific searching problem.
A good starting place:
AUTHOR Beyer, Hans, 1905-1971. TITLE Lehrbuch der organischen Chemie. English. Handbook of organic chemistry / [Hans Beyer], Wolfgang Walter ; PUBLISHER London ; New York : Prentice Hall, 1996. NOTE Translated and amended from the 22nd German ed. SUBJECT Chemistry, Organic. Science-Reference QD251.2 .B4813 1996 LIB USE ONLY
This is a Lehrbuch: a text-book in the European style, a companion, a summary, a reference, accessible to beginner as well as expert. Its organization is primarily by kinds of compounds (aliphatic, aromatic, heterocyclic, etc.), with a hefty subject index. Great for quick review.
For chemical names, synonyms, CAS Registry Numbers:
AUTHOR Howard, Philip H. (Philip Hall), 1943- TITLE Dictionary of chemical names and synonyms PUBLISHER Boca Raton : Lewis Publishers, c1992. Science-Reference TP9 .H65 1992ChemFinder is often faster for Registry Numbers.
For practical background:
TITLE Kirk-Othmer Concise encyclopedia of chemical technology. PUBLISHER New York : Wiley, 1999. Science-Reference TP9 .K54 1999
A single-volume condensation of the 24-volume Kirk-Othmer ("The Bible of chemical technology"), emphasizing industrial chemistry, but often a useful source of basic practical information.
Another starting place: take time to wander the shelves from QD251 to QD452 --where most of the organic chemistry book holdings can be found. Just a scan of titles can provoke thought and store away terminology for future use; a number of monograph series (like the 50-odd volumes of Academic Press Organic Chemistry) are sprinkled through the collection. Once you have a specific topic it's essential to do a keyword (W) search in ANNIE --it's surprising how extensive our monographic holdings are in chemistry.
TITLE The Merck index : an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs, and biologicals EDITION 11th ed., centennial ed. PUBLISHER Rahway, N.J., U.S.A. : Merck, 1989. Leyburn-Reference RS51 .M4 1989 Science-Reference RS51 .M4 1989 TITLE Dictionary of organic compounds. EDITION 6th ed. PUBLISHER London ; New York : Chapman & Hall, 1996. Science-Reference QD246 .D5 1996(9 volumes: 6 of compounds, 1 a name index, 1 a molecular formula index, and 1 a CAS Registry Number index. For most compounds, provides basic bibliographic pointer)
AUTHOR Mundy, Bradford P., 1938- TITLE Name reactions and reagents in organic synthesis / PUBLISHER New York : Wiley, c1988. Science-Reference QD291 .M86 1988
AUTHOR Larock, Richard C., 1944- TITLE Comprehensive organic transformations : a guide to functional group preparations / by Richard C. Larock. PUBLISHER New York, N.Y. : VCH Publishers, c1989. Science Library QD262 .L355 1989 AUTHOR Vogel, Arthur Israel. TITLE Vogel's Textbook of practical organic chemistry. PUBLISHER London : Longman Scientific & Technical ; New York : Wiley, 1989. Science Library QD261 .V63 1989 AUTHOR Leonard, J. (John), 1954- TITLE Advanced practical organic chemistry PUBLISHER London : Blackie ; New York : Chapman and Hall, 1995. Science Library QD262 .A34 1995 AUTHOR March, Jerry, 1929- TITLE Advanced organic chemistry : reactions, mechanisms, and structure / Jerry March. EDITION 4th ed. PUBLISHER New York : Wiley, c1992. Science-Reference QD251.2 .M37 1992 TITLE Organic reaction mechanisms. PUBLISHER London ; New York : Interscience Publishers, 1965- QD258 .O82 Science Library (Annual series with 5-year indexes) AUTHOR Carey, Francis A., 1937- TITLE Advanced organic chemistry / Science Library QD251.2 .C36 pt. A
TITLE Organic reactions. PUBLISHER New York, John Wiley & Sons. QD251 .O7 Science Library
TITLE Chemistry of carbon compounds. Rodd's Chemistry of carbon compounds : a modern comprehensive treatise. PUBLISHER Amsterdam ; New York : Elsevier Pub. Co., 1964- Science Library QD251 .R6 1964
TITLE Reagents for organic synthesis. PUBLISHER New York : Wiley, c1967-c1979. Science Library QD262 .F5 v. 1 TITLE Fieser and Fieser's reagents for organic synthesis. QD262 .F5 Science Library
TITLE Comprehensive organic functional group transformations / PUBLISHER New York : Pergamon, 1995. Science Library QD262 .C534 1995 TITLE Comprehensive organic synthesis : selectivity, strategy, & efficiency in modern organic chemistry / PUBLISHER Oxford, England ; New York : Pergamon Press, 1991. Science Library QD262 .C535 1991 AUTHOR Corey, E. J. TITLE The logic of chemical synthesis / Science Library QD262 .C577 1989 AUTHOR Carey, Francis A., 1937- TITLE Advanced organic chemistry / Science Library QD251.2 .C36 pt. B AUTHOR Nicolaou, K. C. TITLE Classics in total synthesis : targets, strategies, methods PUBLISHER Weinheim ; New York : VCH, c1996. Science Library QD262 .N52 1996 AUTHOR Noyori, Ryoji. TITLE Asymmetric catalysis in organic synthesis / Ryoji Noyori. Science Library QD262 .N69 1994 TITLE Catalytic asymmetric synthesis / edited by Iwao Ojima. Science Library QD262 .C356 1993 TITLE Theilheimer's synthetic methods of organic chemistry = Synthetische Methoden der organischen Chemie. QD262 .T472 Science Library
AUTHOR Beilstein, Friedrich Konrad, 1838-1906. TITLE Handbuch der organischen Chemie. Science Library QD251 .B4Here's what Information Sources in Chemistry (SCI REF QD8.5 .I47) has to say about Beilstein:
It is an information retrieval system for ascertaining the major physical and chemical properties, preparations, etc. of any organic compound reported in the literature during the period covered. It also gives a detailed guide to the extent of knowledge in a given field together with ample references to the original literature. (pg. 148)Information Sources in Chemistry provides a nice succinct guide to the explorer of Beilstein, between pages 149 and 160. You might also find it interesting to explore LSU's summary.
TITLE The Aldrich library of 13C and 1H FT NMR spectra / Science Library QC462.85 .A44 1993 AUTHOR Pouchert, Charles J. TITLE The Aldrich library of FT-IR spectra / Science Library QD96.I5 P66 1985 AUTHOR McLafferty, Fred W. TITLE The Wiley/NBS registry of mass spectral data / Science Library QC454.M3 M395 1989
TITLE Annual reports on the progress of chemistry. Section B, Organic chemistry / The Chemical Society. QD1 .C57 Science Library
TITLE Organic syntheses. NOTE "An annual publication of satisfactory methods for the preparation of organic chemicals." QD262 .O7 Science Library LIB. HAS: 28- AUTHOR Shriver, D. F. (Duward F.), 1934- TITLE The manipulation of air-sensitive compounds Science Library QD61 .S57
AUTHOR Greene, Theodora W., 1931- TITLE Protective groups in organic synthesis EDITION 2nd ed. PUBLISHER New York : Wiley, c1991. Science Library QD262 .G665 1991
TITLE Hazardous substances resource guide PUBLISHER Detroit : Gale Research, c1993. Science-Reference T55.3.H3 H444 1993 AUTHOR Lewis, Richard J., Sr. TITLE Hazardous chemicals desk reference / Richard J. Lewis, Sr. EDITION 3rd ed. PUBLISHER New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold, c1993. Science-Reference T55.3.H3 L49 1993
TITLE Chem sources U.S.A. Science-Reference TP12 .C443 1996 AUTHOR Gordon, Arnold J. TITLE The chemist's companion: a handbook of practical data, techniques, and references Science-Reference QD65 .G64
(this is now practically obsolete, thanks to SciFinder Scholar...s ee my page documenting our trail of SFS . I'll leave it here as a Monument...)ChemAbs (CA) is another of those hurdles for the student of chemistry: the series is truly humongous, and labyrinthine to boot. It's an essential tool, but it's no small thing to learn its use. Electronic versions may make CA more approachable, but sometimes it's necessary to deal with it in paper. Here's a bare-bones introduction, organized by characteristics of chemical substances which can be searched:
Every 3 years (or so) CA revises the Index Guide, which is used to "guide the user to appropriate headings in the Chemical Substance and General Subject Indexes". CA suggests you start here with any search, and IG is certainly useful to direct a search that begins with a trade name trivial name. Thus, if you wanted to find material on Diapam you'd want to know that it's under 2H-1,4-Benzodiazepin-2-one,7-chloro-1,3-dihydro-1-methyl-5-phenyl- and that its Registry Number is [439-14-5]. There's also a (daunting) 300 pages of appendices which explain how CA works.
Here you can find pointers to abstracts of articles on (e.g.,)
- hair preparations (more than 3 pages in vol 125 )
- insertion reactions (more than a page)
- monosaccharides (more than a page)
- etc. etc. etc.
If you have a specific substance and know how CA's nomenclature system lists it, you can look up articles about the substance. Thus, the CS index for vol 124 (1996) says that Acetic acid diazo ethyl ester has the Registry Number [623-73-4] and lists about 50 articles.
Points to articles and refers to Chemical Substances listings. Thus, the listing for C4H6N2O2 in vol 125 (1996) refers the searcher to Acetic acid, diazo- ethyl ester in CS (read as "diazo acetic acid ethyl ester"), and gives references for 18 other substances with the same formula.
Registry Numbers have no chemical significance: they are unique codes assigned to "definable chemical entities". Thus, L-Aspartic Acid [56-84-8] is distinguished from D-Aspartic Acid [1783-96-6]. Registry Numbers are used quite widely outside the world of CA, and always have the format Y-XX-X, where Y = up to 6 digits and X = 1 digit.
ChemAbs collects the abstracts of articles (and books and reports) published in the thousands of journals that make up the primary and secondary literature of Chemistry. The indexes (sketched above) help you to find the needle you're looking for (articles on a subject or substance) in the vast haystack of published material. Every week another 5-6 pounds of paper arrives in the Library; every 6 months CAS produces a volume index for that 6 months. An exhaustive search of the paper form of CA means looking in LOTS of 6-month indexes --about 16 years' worth, back to the 10th Collective Index of 1981, and then through quinquennial and decennial indexes back to the beginning . That search nets you a bibliography of sources (articles, etc.) which can then be quarried for the information in their text and in their bibliographies.
Perhaps it's as useful to look at/compare some summaries of ChemAbs use:
Some (untested) structure viewers
I tried ChemFinder with 'paclitaxel' as the search term and got this result, enough to get me started with a Registry Number and a picture of the molecule.