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C471 Exercise 8: Background Reading (Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Other Books)

Library Exercise 2
Updated: 24 September 2003
Key Points: This is the second library treasure hunt. In this one, you will:

Chemistry books of one sort or another cannot contain very up-to-date information even if they were published with this year's date. Nevertheless, the most important aspects of scientific discoveries eventually make their way into such works. In this exercise, we look at both Internet and printed examples of secondary sources that have repackaged information in one fashion or another.


1. For your favorite area of chemistry (analytical, biochemistry, etc.),

2. Using IUCAT, try to find a treatise that covers a substantial subarea of chemistry. [Pick a different area than the one for which a treatise was selected for library exercise 1.] HINT: A treatise often has the word "Comprehensive" in the title.

Remember that treatises often have titles that start with the word "comprehensive".

3. Use IUCAT to find a recent textbook on mass spectrometry. Write down its call number and title. HINT: The word "Introduction" might help.

4. Look at the index to LC call numbers relevant to chemistry and find the first section listed that deals with analytical spectroscopy.

5. Try to find a textbook on mass spectrometry by visiting the Chemical Education Resource Shelf. While there, notice the relationship between this Internet resource and the Journal of Chemical Education.

If a title search doesn't work, try using the CERS Index and look for the section on organic spectroscopy.

6. Use the Chemical Acronyms Database to find the full forms of the acronyms XPS and ESCA.

Despite the two different phrases and acronyms, the analytical technique is exactly the same. Think about the problems this might cause in searching some databases.

7. Use the Encyclopedia of Analytical Instrumentation Internet resource to find information on XPS (or ESCA). Now look at the treatment of this topic in the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology or in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry.

Which of the sources had the most information on the topic?

Think about the advantages and relative strengths of the Web and printed works and list one advantage or strength for each.