CHE 460  Chemical Literature


Instructor:     Dr. Dr. Lihung (Angel) Pu

                        Office hours:  TBA


Reference Texts:

Wiggins, Gary, Chemical Information Sources, McGraw-Hill Series in Advance Chemistry, New York, 1991; ISBN: 0079099394.

Wolman, Yecheskel, Chemical Information, a Practical Guide to Utilization, 2nd Ed., Wiley, New York, 1988; ISBN:0471917044.

Maizell, Robert E., How to Find Chemical Information : a Guide for Practicing Chemists, Educators and Students, Wiley-Interscience, 3rd edition (May 1998); ISBN: 0471125792.

These texts are available from amazon.com or barnesandnobel.com in both new and used condition.


Goals and Objectives: (taken from ACS Professional Guidelines, 1991)

“Students preparing for professional work in chemistry must learn how to retrieve specific information from the enormous and rapidly expanding chemical literature.  The increasing volume and complexity of the literature means that students can no longer acquire skills in information retrieval without some formal instruction.  Ability to use the literature should be imparted either through a specific course or through coordinated instruction integrated into courses primarily devoted to other topics.  These could be lectures or laboratory courses, preferably at the junior or senior level.  Library exercises should be included in such instruction.  In institutions requiring undergraduate research, instruction in information retrieval may be part of the introduction to research, but it should be recognized that adequate presentation of the subject - including understanding of the use of Chemical Abstracts, Beilstein, Gmelin, Science Citation Index and other compilations, such as Landolt-Börnstein -  will generally  require formal lectures.  It is highly desireable that students gain some experience with on-line interactive computer files.  It is essential, however, that students understand the organization and use of printed information sources in order to use the computer readable files to best advantage.”


Literature worksheets:  Generally a worksheet will contain 5 to 10 questions or items which you have to find in references in the library.  DO NOT QUESTION THE LIBRARIANS in particular about your assignments since they do not have the specific knowledge needed to find the answers to your assignments.  You alone are supposed to find the answers to each question.  Be sure to include the complete reference for each book, journal, etc. you used as evidence that you actually looked for the answer.  Do not use the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics or Lange’s Handbook as a reference except for the assignment which deals with quick references and handbooks.  The assignments other than the one for quick references require more detailed and specific information than that contained in standard handbooks.


Course policy:

CHE 460 is designed around two major goals:

          1.  to help you learn the nature and use of literature and references in chemistry and

          2.  to help you improve your writing in chemistry

The course is self-directing with library assignments.  Grading in the course is on a CR/NC basis only.  To obtain a CR grade, you must complete all ten assignments and obtain an average grade of 8 out of 10.  Written work and literature worksheets judged to be unsatisfactory due to content, grammar, spelling, etc. will have to be redone.

No grades of I (incomplete) will be given in this course because of student failure to complete work assignments unless there is a serious and compelling reason such as an accident or illness requiring hospitalization.  You must submit your work in a timely manner, so plan your semester accordingly.


Web based assignments:

1. Make sure javascript is enabled in your Browser.  If the page is nonresponsive, it may be because javascript is disabled.  The pages have been tested on Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. Some versions of Netscape may present intermitent problems.

2.  To obtain an assignment, click on the appropriate category.  You will asked to enter your name and then click on a button to get your assignment. Note: Use the first two letters of your first name plus your last name, i.e. Harry Potter = HAPotter

3.  The assignment with your name on the top will appear in a new window.  Make sure that it is complete by reading every question.  If any questions are incomplete, or the work “undefined” appears, get another assignment.

4.  When you have a complete assignment, print it.

5.  Find the information requested on the assignment and submit answers along with the original question sheet to the instructor. You may leave assignments in the instructors mailbox, NSM B-202.


Here are the ten assignments and due dates:


     Assignment                                               due date


1.   Library Worksheet                                                 2/15


2.   Quick References Worksheet                                 2/22

3.   Primary Journals Worksheet                                   2/29

4.   Chemical Abstracts-First Worksheet                       3/7

5.   Chemical Abstracts-Second Worksheet                  3/14

6.   Writing an Abstract                                                 3/21

Breakthrough of the Year

7.   Synthesis Worksheet                                              4/4

8.   Collections Worksheet                                            4/25

9.   World Wide Web Assignment                                5/9

10.  Final Assignment                                                    5/16