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CHE 215: Research Methods in Chemistry: Searching for Published Research

Chemistry News from C&EN

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Anna Hulseberg
Office: Library 215

Review Articles

Review articles are not primary research - they don't report new results - but they can be helpful to researchers because they provide a map of what's been going on in some area of chemistry. These are published in chemistry journals as well as in "annual reviews" which publish several review articles once a year.

Annual Series

These volumes provide basic information on the most important synthetic reactions and on reliable methods for preparing organic compounds.

ORGANIC REACTIONS, v 1, 1942 - (QD 251 .O7)
ORGANIC SYNTHESES, v. 20, 1940 - (QD 262 .O7); also available online.

Two other annual publications review recent research of interest in the fields of biochemistry and physical chemistry.

Wecome to the Republic of Science

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visualization of social media connections by Michael Coghlan

Years ago, philosopher of science Michael Polanyi described science as a republic, one that depended on scientists all contributing their expertise to a common purpose, independent but also interdependent. As you explore chemistry literature, you'll be getting a glimpse of how this republic works and will have a chance to enter into its conversations. This guide will link you to some entry points.

"The Republic of Science shows us an association of independent initiatives, combined towards an indeterminate achievement. It is disciplined and motivated by serving a traditional authority, but this authority is dynamic; its continued existence depends on its constant self-renewal through the originality of its followers. The Republic of Science is a Society of Explorers."

Important Databases for Chemists

The American Chemical Society produces the most complete and complex database of chemical literature, but there are others that can be part of your toolkit. Here are some options. It's worth your while to spend some time exploring Sci Finder because, while there's a learning curve, it's incredibly powerful and if you go on to further study in chemistry, you'll be glad you did. It's also incredibly expensive, so enjoy using it while you can.

How do I get the actual articles?

Libraries are linked together through an interlibrary-loan (or ILL) system. Libraries share books and make digitized articles available to people throughout the state connected through this system. What you need to know:

  • Many databases have a find it! button that will first see if an article is in another database and, if not, offer you a chance to request it from another library. Google Scholar includes links to library content to the right of the search results (find it @ Gustavus). When there's no link to the article on the right-hand side, click the tiny more option under the article to get the link to request it through ILL.
  • You'll need to enter your Gustavus account username and password to log into the library system.
  • The form will be filled out for you. All you need to do is scroll down and click submit.
  • You will then get an email with a link and instructions on how to download the article. You can keep the article. (You can also request books, but those you have to return.)
  • Sometimes things go wrong. Library ILL staff are friendly and helpful. They will do their best to help you get what you need.

If you have a reference to an article you want, you don't need to go through a database to order it. There's a form you can fill in with the citation information, but it's cleverly hidden. To find it ...

  • Go to the library website. On the left-hand side, click "My Library Account."
  • Click on the "Sign In" button in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Log in using your Gustavus user name and password.
  • Click on "My ILL Requests"
  • Click on "Create Request," fill in the blanks, and click "Submit."

From this page, you will also have the option to download PDFs of articles you have requested recently. Be sure to download them because they will vanish after a period of time.

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