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Information Resources and Services for:
CHE 109: Common Chemistry Myths

January 2008
Finding Information about Chemistry

The library has many tools to help you conduct research on your chemistry topics. Use this guide to explore everything available to you. If you have questions, encounter problems, or simply want to talk about your topic, stop by the Reference Desk to chat with any of our librarians. You are also more than welcome to contact me directly at or x7552.

The Research Process

A quick word about the research process. With so many tools available, it's fairly easy to find information about your topic. What's more important is finding quality information about your topic. Scrutinize your sources: When was the book written? What position does the article's author argue? Is this the best database for my topic? Think critically about the process: Do I have enough appropriate sources? Do I have an understanding of the topic? What other sources can I consult? Have I visited the Reference Desk yet?

When you think critically about the research process (and when you give yourself enough time to explore a variety of sources), you'll find that it's not only exciting, it will help you write a better paper!

Julie Gilbert
Jessica Hilborn

Table of Contents:

Reference Books
Reference books are an excellent place to start your research. These specialized encyclopedias provide overviews of topics, giving you both a sense of the scope of the topic and good search terms! Some reference books also have suggestions for further reading; locate these books and articles to use as sources in your paper. A few of these will also be useful for your biography paper.
  • Chemistry: Foundations and Applications
    New York: Macmillan Reference 2004
    Provides over 500 articles on basic information on elements, topics in biochemistry, applications of chemistry, biographies of important chemists, and chemistry-related topics in other areas such as medicine, environmental chemistry, and energy.
    • Location(s): Ref QD 4 .C48 2004
  • Concise Encyclopedia Chemistry
    Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1994
    Provides brief definitions and short background articles on topics in the field, including general, inorganic, organic, physical and technical chemistry. There is another concise encyclopedia covering biochemistry and molecular biology available at Ref QD415.A25 B713 1997.
    • Location(s): Ref QD 4 .A2313 1994
  • Dictionary of Chemistry
    Oxford: Oxford UP 2008 4th edition
    Offers brief definitions of terms in the field, including physical chemistry, chemical engineering, environmental issues, and biochemistry.
  • Dictionary of Scientific Biography
    New York: Scribner 1970-80, with supplements
    Offers long profiles of important scientists, from early times to modern, with consideration both of their lives and technical aspects of their work. Each biography is followed by a bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
    • Location(s): Ref Q 141 .D5, 18 vols.
  • Dictionary of Scientists
    Oxford: Oxford UP 2003 Revised edition
    Over 1,300 entries. Spanning over 2,500 years, covers various are as of science, from physics and astronomy to medicine and ecology, including key figures in the fields of mathematics and technology. Includes coverage of all Nobel Laureates in physics, chemistry, physiology, and medicine.
  • World of Chemistry
    Detroit: Gale 2000
    A treasury of articles on theories, discoveries, concepts, and key scientists in the field.
    • Location(s): Ref QD33 .W873 2000
Finding Books
For books in the Gustavus library, use the MnPALS catalog. Write down the call number and location information. Use the maps on the library's website, the tags on the sides of shelves, or stop at the Reference Desk to figure out where your book is shelved. To request books from other libraries, visit the Interlibrary Loan page for more information or use the FindIt! button in WorldCat.
  • MnPALS Plus
    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. Choose "All Libraries" in the search options to search other MnPALS libraries (such as Minnesota State schools) and request books through Interlibrary Loan. View our MnPALS Plus tutorial.
  • MnLink
    A shared catalog of Minnesota libraries, including the University of Minnesota. To search a large number of libraries at once, choose "Libraries - Academic" from the "Current Profile" list. Use the "Get it!" button to place Interlibrary Loan requests.
  • WorldCat
    Includes over 40 million bibliographic records representing cataloged resources in 400 languages owned by libraries around the world. Materials date back to the 11th century. Owning libraries can be identified for books, journals, archival resources and electronic resources. Access to WorldCat is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM); the database can also be searched through its free web interface, at
    1000 CE-present; updated daily
Finding Articles
Search for chemistry articles in any of these databases. If the full text is not available through the database, click on the yellow FindIt! button. The FindIt! button will search all other databases and our print copies to see if we have access to the article. An SFX screen will pop up, directing you to full text options. If you see an option for ILL, it means we will have to request the article from another library. Click the Go button next to the ILL option to be taken directly to the ILL form.
  • SciFinder Scholar
    SciFinder Scholar retrieves information contained in databases produced by Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS): CAplus (contains over 19.6 million documents from more than 8,000 journals), CAS REGISTRY (provides access to 32 million specific chemical substances), and CASREACT (provides access to reaction information for more than 5 million single- and multiple-step reactions). For many substances, one may also obtain chemical source and regulatory information from the CHEMCATS and CHEMLIST databases. In addition, SciFinder Scholar also includes the over 19.6 million citations from MEDLINE, produced by the National Library of Medicine.
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge)
    The Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Besides indexing a wide range of journals in the sciences, social sciences, and history, this resource allows you to search for articles that cite a specific author or published work. Coverage from 1997 to the present. Click on the "Web of Science" tab to limit your search to one or more specific citation databases.
Additional Resources
Use these pages to explore other library resources.
  • Reference Desk
    Hours for January at the Reference Desk are: Monday - Thursday 10:00 - 5:00 & 6:00 - 9:00, Friday 10:00 - 5:00, and Sunday 12:00 - 8:00
Contacting Julie
I'm happy to meet with you at any time to chat about your research. I can suggest additional sources, advanced search techniques, and troubleshoot problems you may encounter. Email me at or call x7552.

Page Coordinator: Julie Gilbert
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