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Research Resources: Class Guides

CHM 222: Inorganic Chemistry

This is a selective listing of resources available in the Martin Science Library or through the Internet for searching the chemical literature.


Journals, including Review Publications

The library receives over 20 serial titles in inorganic chemistry. Most of these journals contain original research; some include review articles, book reviews, and association news. Journals can be identified in the Journals List at F&M by searching for all or any part of a title. The results page will tell you the Library's holdings (what volumes and dates are archived), and in what form the materials are held (bound, microfilm, or online version).

Primary Literature:

  • Angewandte Chemie
  • ChemTracts
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Journal of Organometallic Chemistry
  • Journal of the American Chemical Society - (or JACS)
  • Organometallics
Review publications survey a field, summarizing developments over a given period of time. Each review contains a long bibliography, citing the literature of that period. Look in any volume for a cumulative index of the articles published to date, or use the indexes to locate review articles in these series and similar titles.

Secondary Literature:

  • Advances in Inorganic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Progress in Inorganic Chemistry
  • Structure and Bonding
  • Annual Reports of the Of Chemistry: Section A, QD1 .C57
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Locating Articles

ACS (American Chemical Society) Publications
Provides fully edited articles with complete graphics and links from all 33 ACS publications. Articles appear online anywhere from two weeks to three months before the article is available in print. Coverage extends back to 1879.

Web of Science (ISI)
The Web of Science covers the same chemistry journals as ArticleFirst, plus a few more. It covers 1965-present, and for recent years has searchable abstracts. It also has searchable cited references, so you can track an older reference on, for instance, a synthetic method forward to more recent applications or to other related records.

SciFinder Scholar
Provides access a wide diversity of research from many scientific disciplines, including biomedical science, chemistry, engineering, materials science and agricultural science. SciFinder includes references from over 10,000 journals and patents, discoveries from the mid-1800s to present, breakthroughs as they are published, and the world's largest collection of organic and inorganic substance information. Users must register for a username and password. Contact Laura Eiford, Science Librarian for assistance.

Chemical Abstracts
Sci Reference area
This is the most complete and comprehensive index to the chemical literature, but by virtue of its size, can be difficult to use for some purposes. For 1907-present, use SciFinder Scholar, an end-user oriented interface to the Chemical Abstracts, REGISTRY and REFERENCES databases.

Consult the print Chemical Abstracts (1907-2000) For either substances or techniques, check first in the Index Guide to make sure you have the correct terminology. For individual substances, then look in the Chemical Substance Index; for classes of substances or for techniques, look in the General Subject Index. Heavily researched substances may have subject subheadings attached, such as compounds or preparation. For less common substances, simply scan the list under the subject heading.

The years 1907-1991 are indexed in Cumulative Indexes covering 5 or 10 year periods. 1992-2000 are covered in Volume Indexes (6 months worth at a time). The cumulative indexes will give a volume and abstract number (e.g. 100:10715); volume indexes will just give the abstract number.

If you do not recognize a journal title from the Chemical Abstracts abbreviation, check the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI) available in the Sci Ref area. If you have trouble finding the correct chemical name for a substance in the Index Guide, try to locate its Chemical Abstracts Registry Number in the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics,Dictionary of Inorganic Compounds, or other handbook, then use the Registry Number Handbook to find the CA standard name.

ICSD (Inorganic Crystal Structure Database)
This database contains information on all inorganic crystal structure including pure elements, minerals, metals, and intermetallic compounds including their atomic coordinates that have been published since 1913. It is updated twice a year. Limited to 4 Simultaneous Users.

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Locating Books

To locate books on your topic, use the library catalog. As a starting point, use a subject search on the applicable broad subject terms. For a particular chemical element use the element name. Some classes of compounds (porphyrins, fullerenes) have their own subject headings. For the most general classes of inorganic chemistry, use chemistry, inorganic or inorganic compounds; organometallic chemistry or organometallic compounds; coordination chemistry. Don't try to get too specific in a subject search - the Library of Congress subject headings do not go into great depth in chemical terminology.

If you can't find anything useful with a subject search, try a keyword search on your terms. Keyword searching searches both book titles and subject headings, and, for recent works, may also search chapter titles. If you find a relevant record, check its subject headings to see if there is alternative terminology you should try. Browsing a call number range can also be helpful. Some of the Library of Congress classifications which are of interest to students looking for books about inorganic chemistry are:

  • QD 146 - 197: Inorganic Chemistry
  • QD 410 - 412.5: Organometallic Chemistry
  • QD 475: Physical Inorganic Chemistry

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General Overview Works

  • Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry   Sci QD 474 .C65 1987
  • Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry   Sci QD 151.2 .C64 1973
  • Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry   Sci QD 411 .C65 1982
  • Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry II    Sci Ref QD 411 .C652 1995
  • Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry   Sci QD 31 .M52
These sets from Pergamon Press contain excellent review articles on various aspects of their respective subjects, and make good starting points for new research. The oldest of these, Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry,is becoming somewhat dated, but is still useful. Each set is organized into volumes on broad subject areas; it's best to consult the subject indexes to locate your topic. Most of the sets also have an excellent molecular formula index.
Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology
Sci Ref TP 9 .E685 1991
Commonly referred to as "Kirk-Othmer" after its original editors, this series of encyclopedias has good overview articles on substances of commercial importance. It does not go into depth on laboratory methods, but there is frequently useful property information, and the articles are very well referenced.

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry
Sci Ref QD 148 .E53 1994
Contains a mixture of short "definition" articles with longer review articles by noted authors; the articles have good bibliographies. It covers inorganic, bioinorganic, organometallic, and coordination chemistry. The encyclopedia is organized alphabetically, with a thematic list in the foreword, a subject index and list of contributors.

Gmelin Handbook of Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry
QD 151 .G52
This is the most comprehensive source of information in inorganic chemistry. Begun in 1817 by Leopold Gmelin, it went through seven editions before the current on began in 1924. Originally focused on classic inorganic chemistry; organometallic was recently added to the title to reflect the vast growth of the latter field. Gmelin is strong on both tabulated property data and descriptive information on compounds and reactions.

Gmelin publishes volumes entirely according to editorial choice, reflecting mainly the volume of research in a given area since the last such volume. Gmelin does not attempt to cover chronological periods in a block. Each volume is devoted to a particular aspect of the chemistry of a single element, with a specified closing date. Examples:
  • Magnesium has had eight volumes published -- none since 1952.
  • Iron has had over 30 volumes on its organometallic chemistry since 1974, with eleven volumes on ferrocenes alone!
  • Uranium has special volumes on nuclear fuel behavior, extraction and purification.
The Gmelin volumes are organized by "principal element", where, in general, transition metals rank higher than main group metals, which rank higher than nonmetals. Examples:
  • NaCl -- Sodium is Vol. 21; Chlorine is Vol. 6
  • Ferrocene - Carbon is Vol. 14; Hydrogen is Vol. 2; Iron is Vol. 59. Therefore Ferrocene appears in Vol. 59
  • (NH4)2Cr2O7 -- Chromium is Vol 52; Ammonium gets its own volume, 23: Oxygen is Vol. 2. Therefore: Vol. 52.
Gmelin has comprehensive formula indexes, in three parts: 1924-74, 1974-79,and 1980-87. The index for 1988-1992 is now being published. Formulas are listed alphabetically using Hill System notation. Volumes before 1980 are in German; volumes since 1980 are in English. The Science Library does not have a complete set of Gmelin, lacking volumes published before 1926 and after 1979 Publication of new volumes ceased a few years ago, but may resume.

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Physical Properties

WebElements is a hypertext-linked collection of property data on the first 112 elements including (where available): general, chemical, physical, nuclear, electronic, biological, geological, crystallographic, reduction potential, isotopic abundances, electronic configurations, ionization enthalpy data and additional textual information, especially onthe history of the elements.

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
Sci Ref QD 65 .H3
Probably the most familiar source, the CRC handbook is published annually but usually changes little from one year to the next. It contains a variety of useful physical and chemical data, with some references. Some of the data is given in the main table of inorganic compounds, other data appears in separate tables grouped by data type. Not very systematic in choice of data, and indexing can be inconsistent.

Dictionary of Inorganic Compounds
Sci Ref QD 148 .D53 1992
Presents essential information on the most important inorganic substances. Includes over 20,000 entries.

Dictionary of Organometallic Compounds
Sci Ref QD 411 .D53 1995
Chapman-Hall publishes a variety of "dictionaries" of compounds, including these two sets. They give structure diagrams, basic physical data (on both the compound and significant derivatives), and references for other information (syntheses, spectra, etc.). Alphabetical arrangement; well-indexed, including CAS Registry Numbers.

This database, provided by CambridgeSoft, provides basic physical data and structure diagrams. It also has links to websites containing other data for a large number of chemical compounds. Database is searchable by name, molecular weight, molecular formula, CAS Registry Number.

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Synthetic Methods

Inorganic Syntheses
Sci QD 151 .C1 I5
This is a less-than-annual publication, similar in format to the more famous Organic Syntheses, giving detailed and tested methods for syntheses, including reaction conditions, yields and safety information. It covers inorganic and organometallic compounds (including boranes, synthetic metals, ceramic superconductors, etc.). The series has no collective volumes, but the indexes are cumulative: starting with volume 2, each volume has a formula index; starting with volume 15, 5-volume cumulative indexes appear every 5 volumes. Starting with volume 30 (1995), a CAS RN index is included.

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Internet Resources

Assessing the Reliability of Chemical Data on the Web

It has been stated that the chemical data now on available on the web is in a different class from the data found in refereed journals, critical reviews, and books from reputable publishers. One author has noted an across-the-board 3-5% error rate on virtually all of the sites indexed from the ChemFinder Webserver. Very few sites offer any assurance of the quality of data presented. Units are frequently omitted in tables, making numbers useless. Transcription and typographical errors are frequent, and there is typically little auxilliary information which may be needed to use the data properly. The general rule when seeking data on the web is caveat emptor; caution is especially important when the the product (in this case, data) is free.

More and more resources of value to the inorganic chemist are becoming available over the Web. Some are available free of charge, some are not. You may try using Internet search engines such as Yahoo, Infoseek, Alta Vista, etc.; however, depending on the keywords you choose, you may find nothing, or you may find large amounts of irrelevant material. It can be more effective to seek out sites which are specifically devoted to chemical information.

Additional Resources

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Last updated: 1/19/11 le, contact Ask Us for assistance, 291-4217


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