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Chemistry: Background/Reference Sources 

The purpose of gathering background information is to help you understand your topic in more depth, or perhaps think about a different view or a subtopic that you had not previously considered.

Reference Books | Electronic Reference Resources

Using reference sources in the library's Reference Collection can be very useful.

After looking at the titles that follow, you can use the reference collection to help you locate additional information on your topic in the circulating collection, or you can note the call number of a Reference book that is useful for your topic, for example the Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis (REF QD77 .E53 1995). Drop the REF and use the initial letters and numbers as a guide to finding similar material that circulates. If you wanted to find circulating books similar to the Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis, you would go to the third floor and browse the QD77 section.

Subject Specific Reference Books

Biographies | Data | Encyclopedias | Style Guides


A to Z of Chemists
REF. QD 21 .O34 2002
Biographical information on over 150 chemists from across the world.
Profiles of Eminent American Chemists
REF. QD 21 .S49
Biographical information about American chemists.
Women in Chemistry and Physics
REF. QD 21 .W62 1993
Biographical essays, including bibliographies, on women who have made "significant contributions" to the disciplines of chemistry and physics.

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Aldrich Library of NMR Spectra (2 vols.)
REF. QD 96 .N8 P68 1983
A compilation of NMR spectra "to assist the average chemist who is not a specialist in NMR spectroscopy."
CRC Handbook of Basic Tables for Chemical Analysis
REF. QD 78 .B78 2011
Information useful for chemical analysis in the areas of: 1) gas chromatography, 2) high-performance liquid chromatography, 3) thin-layer chromatography, 4) supercritical fluid extraction and chromatography, 5) electrophoresis, 6) electroanalytical methods, 7) ultraviolet spectrophotometry, 8) infrared spectrophotometry, 9) nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, 10) mass spectrometry, 11) atomic absorption spectrometry, 12) qualitative tests, and 13) solution properties
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics: a Ready-Reference Book of Chemical and Physical Data
REF. QD 65 .H3 
Provides "broad coverage of all types of physical science data commonly encountered by scientists and engineers, with as much depth as can be accomodated in a one-volume format." Includes sections on: 1) basic constants, units, and conversion factors, 2) symbols, terminology, and nomenclature, 3) physical constants of organic compounds, 4) properties of the elements and inorganic compounds, 5) thermochemistry, electrochemistry, and kinetics, 6) fluid properties, 7) biochemistry, 8) analytical chemistry, 9) molecular structure and spectroscopy, 10) atomic, molecular, and optical physics, 11) nuclear and particle physics, 12) properties of solids, 13) polymer properties, 14) geophysics, astronomy, and acoustics, 15) practical laboratory data, and 16) health and safety information.
CRC Handbook of Fundamental Spectroscopic Correlation Charts
REF. QD 95.5 .S72 B78 2006
"Provides a collection of spectroscopic information and unique correlation charts for use in the interpretation of spectroscopic measurements."
Dictionary of Organic Compounds (11 vols.)
REF. QD 246 .D5 1996
Allows the user "to access the key data on the most important organic compounds as rapidly and easily as possible."
Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis (8 vols.)
REF. QD 77 .E53 1995
"Systematic description of the utility of all reagents used in organic chemistry."
Handbook of Physical Properties of Organic Chemicals
REF. QD 257.7 .H374 1997
"Contains data of physical and chemical properties for approximately 13,000 organic chemicals of environmental, pharaceutical, or commercial interest. Each chemical record includes chemical structure, chemical formula, molecular weight, melting point/freezing point, water solubility, octanol-water partition coefficient, vapor pressure, acid dissociation constant, Henry's Law constant, and atmospheric hydroxyl radial reaction rate constant."
Merck Index
REF. RS 356 .M5241 2006
An encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs, and biologicals. Over 10,000 monographs covering drugs and pharmaceuticals, common organic chemicals and laboratory reagents, naturally occurring substances and plants, elements and inorganic chemicals, compounds of agricultural significance, and endogenous substances and biological agents.
Physician's Desk Reference (PDR)
REF. RS 250 .P5 
Information on "FDA-approved labeling for drugs as well as prescription infomration provided by manufacturers for grandfathered drugs and other drugs marketed without FDA approval under current FDA policies."
Thermochemical Data of Pure Substances (2 vols.)
REF. QD 511.8 .B369 1989
"Almost 2400 pure substances, including 100 organic compounds, are considered in this compilation of thermochemical data. The scope of thermochemical functions presented is broad, ranging from heat capacity, entropy and Gibbs energy function to enthalpy of formation and equilibrium constant of formation."

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Comprehensive Dictionary of Physical Chemistry
REF. QD 5 .C45 1992
Defines important terms in the areas of: 1) theory of the structure of matter, 2) states of matter, 3) thermodynamics, 4) electrochemistry, 5) chemical kinetics, and 6) colloid and surface chemistry.
The History and Use of Our Earth's Chemical Elements: a Reference Guide
REF. QD 466 .K69 2006
"Provides the background of how we came to know and understand the chemical nature of our planet and everything in the universe, including ourselves." Each element is considered, along with information on its electron configuration, isotopes, origin of name, properties, characteristics, abundance and source, history, common uses, examples of compounds, and hazards.
Lange's Handbook of Chemistry
REF. QD 65 .L36 1992
A one volume source of general information for chemists.
Mass Spec Desk Reference
REF. QD 96 .M3 S73 2000
An "overview to, as well as specific details on, the language and scientific communication media used in the active world of mass spectrometry."
Van Nostrand's Encyclopedia of Chemistry
REF. QD 4 .V36 2005
Entries on 2750 chemistry-related topics, with emphasis in the areas of: 1) advanced processes, 2) strategic raw materials, 3) chemistry of metals, 4) energy sources and conversion, 5) wastes and pollution, 6) analytical instrumentation, 7) growing use of food chemicals, 8) structure of matter, 9) new and improved materials, 10) plant chemistry, and 11) biochemistry and biotechnology.

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Style Guides

ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information
REF. QD 8.5 .A25 2006
A guide to the preparation of manuscripts using ACS (American Chemical Society) style.

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Ask a librarian at the Research Assistance Desk
if you need help in locating these sources.

Electronic Reference Sources

Gale Virtual Reference Library
contains the Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders and Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. (After clicking the link, click "proceed", then select the database.)

Access to clinical databases with information about drugs, labs, toxicology, diseases, acute care, alternative medicine, IV compatibility etc. Also includes access to the CareNotes System. (Note: This database is only available to current Nursing faculty and students. Please see a librarian for database login and password.)

Peterson's College Guides
Online versions of the printed guides. Guides to undergraduate, graduate and vocational-technical schools. Searchable by name or location.

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL