CHEMICAL LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION
Instructor: Professor T.O. Tiernan
Office - 175 Brehm Laboratory
Text: Robert E. Maizell, "How to Find Chemical Information -
A Guide for Practicing Chemists, Educators and
Students," 2nd Edition, Wiley-Interscience, New York
Class and Assignment Schedule: The class will meet three hours
each week to discuss assignments and to hear lectures presented
by the instructor and/or guest lecturers. There will be eight
(8) weekly assignments which involve locating specific
information in library references, or other tasks which require
use of chemical literature. These assignments will be
distributed weekly beginning with the second class period. Each
completed assignment must be returned to the instructor as
indicated on the attached schedule. Late submissions will not be
In addition to completing the weekly assignments, students will
be required to prepare two short papers, including abstracts,
for a meeting presentation and a news announcement on an
appropriate topic in chemistry. A longer written exercise, such
as a research proposal, or a research paper dealing with a
Chemistry topic selected by the student, will also be required.
The latter written assignment must demonstrate extensive use of
the chemical literature. The short and longer written exercises
will be due as indicated on the attached schedule. The longer
paper will be due during Final Exam week. Further details
regarding these writing assignments will be distributed early in
the quarter. A complete schedule of class periods, lectures and
assignments is provided herein.
Grading: There will be no written exams in this course. A grade
will be assigned based on the results of the completed weekly
assignments (40% of the final grade), the short papers (30% of
the final grade), and the longer paper (30% of the final grade).
Scope and Objectives of the Course: The primary purpose of this
course is to assist students in understanding the body of
information which constitutes the chemical literature, and in
developing the skills required to effectively and efficiently
utilize that literature both as students, and ultimately as
professional chemists. As is the case with virtually any
acquired knowledge, the chemical literature is in a constant
state of flux or change. This information base and the means to
access or search it have been changing especially rapidly in the
past few years because of the effects of computerized storage,
sorting, and retrieval capabilities. Perhaps the major source of
information on the chemical literature continues to be Chemical
Abstracts (CA), a publication and service of the American
Chemical Society, but even CA has changed dramatically in format
and organization in recent times. Consequently, the information
which the student acquires in this class will undoubtedly change
with time, and in order to remain current in his profession, the
graduate chemist will need to continually update and modify this
literature information and the methods necessary to effectively
access it. However, the basic literature skills and techniques
learned here will continue to be useful throughout the student's
It is important for the student to recognize that there are many
"correct" approaches to searching the chemical literature.
Hopefully, this course will enable the student to select the best
approach for his purposes. In keeping with the increased
emphasis at Wright State on improving students' abilities to
prepare effective written communications, reports and scholarly
papers, this course also includes writing exercises which will
demonstrate the student's correct use of information derived from
the chemical literature. Some specific learning objectives of
this course are listed below.
1. To become familiar with and be able to use the chemical
literature in the WSU library.
2. To become knowledgeable about government publications and
how to find and use them.
3. To learn about monographs, reviews, and other reference
books and publications pertaining to them.
4. To become familiar with the several ways of writing formulas
and names of compounds and the indices using these formulas
5. To learn about the standard library classification systems.
6. To become familiar with sources of physical data and to be
able to locate needed data for a compound of interest.
7. To learn how to use standard collections of spectra.
8. To be able to effectively use Beilstein and Gmelin.
9. To be familiar with the different abstracting services
available to chemists.
10. To become adept at using Chemical Abstracts and all its
11. To use Science Citation Index for retrospective searching.
12. To become conversant with current awareness searching aids.
13. To know how to obtain and use publications from other
14. To know how to obtain English language translations of
chemistry articles written in other languages.
15. To understand and know how to use the patent literature.
15. To be familiar with literature computer search services.
17. To prepare written scientific products which utilize the
chemical literature, and which are illustrative of the type
of written materials which professional chemists may be
expected to produce.
SCHEDULE AND WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS
DATE LECTURE TEXT CHAPTERS DUE
Jan. 3 Tiernan - Introduction to the 1,2,3 --
Jan. 5 Tiernan - Current Awareness 4 --
Literature, Quick Access to
Jan. 7 Tiernan - U.S. Government 9 1
Jan. 10 Roach - Library Classification 5 --
Jan. 12 Tiernan - Reviews 11 2
Jan. 14 Roach - Chemical Abstracts 6 3
Jan. 19 Tiernan - Chemical Abstracts; 7,8 4
Other Abstracting and Indexing
Jan. 21 Tiernan - Encyclopedias; Other 12 5
Jan. 24 Tiernan - Patent Literature 13 --
Jan. 26 Tiernan - Safety, Related Topics 14 6
Jan. 28 Tiernan - Sources of Physical 15 7
Property and Related Data
Jan. 31 Roach - Science Citation Index -- --
Feb. 2 Tiernan - Analytical Chemistry 18 8
Feb. 4 Tiernan - Chemical Marketing; 16,17,19 --
Business Information; Process
Information; Trends and
Feb. 7 Roach - On-Line Databases, 10 5
Search and Retrieval
Feb. 9 Tiernan - Introduction to -- --
Technical Writing -- General
CHEMISTRY 319 - WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT SCHEDULE (continued)
DATE LECTURE TEXT CHAPTERS DUE
Feb. 11 Tiernan - Writing Style -- --
Feb. 14 Tiernan - Definitions -- --
Feb. 16 Tiernan - Technical Descriptions -- --
Feb. 18 Tiernan - Abstracts -- --
Feb. 21 Tiernan - The Process of Writing -- Written
Feb. 23 Tiernan - Scientific and -- --
Feb. 25 Tiernan - Laboratory Notebooks -- --
Feb. 28 Tiernan - Proposals -- --
Mar. 2 Tiernan - Authoring Scientific -- Written
Mar. 4 Tiernan - Format of Articles -- --
for Technical Journals
Mar. 7 Tiernan - Writing for Non- -- --
Mar. 9 Tiernan - Strategies for -- --
Preparation of Research
Mar. 11 Tiernan - Review/Recap -- --
Mar. 16 Final Paper Due -- Written