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CHY 298: Introduction to Chemistry Research Course Guide

Scientific Communication

Research and publication "cycle"

Simplified model. The Internet can serve as an informal communication tool, a medium for hosting "traditional" scholarly communication, and a source of new types of scholarly publications ("eprints").

Some common types of scientific literature
journal articles
(including reviews)
conference/symposium/meeting proceedings technical reports
patents dissertations/theses standards/specifications

Most of the patents of interest to chemists are "utility" patents, which can cover objects, processes, or substances.

When to Search the Internet

To find

  • preliminary information on a highly specific topic
  • opinions that might not be expressed through traditional scientific communication channels
  • (occasionally) the full text of items unavailable locally.

General database search tips

  • Try alternative terminology: chlorine free as well as environmentally friendly.
  • Try alternative spelling: minimising flavour as well as minimizing flavor (exception for SciFinder)
  • Truncate (use a wildcard) to get variations on a word: environment* to find environment, environmentally,...
    (exception for SciFinder)
  • Combine terms, using
OR for synonyms or closely related terms
chlorine free or environmentally friendly
OR expands a search, finding results containing either or both terms.  
AND to "cross together" disparate concepts
(but not in SciFinder)
bleaching and environmentally friendly
AND narrows a search, finding only results containing both terms.  
  • Apply limits or refine your results--language, date, publication type, etc.

Tips on author searching

  • Search by first initial as well as full first name
  • Be flexible with prefixes (de, von, etc.), possible prefixes (Declerq or de Clerq?), hyphenated names (Lopez-Anido or Lopez Anido or LopezAnido or Anido?), and compound names (Mauricio Pereira da Cunha)
  • Consider reversing names (Wu Li or Li Wu?)
  • Use workarounds for non-Roman characters (Jürgen Gauß or Juergen Gauss) unless the database handles that for you


The primary database for chemistry available at Fogler Library is SciFinder. Consult with your professor or a librarian to see if you should search in other or additional databases.

Getting started
  • Register for an account
  • Abide by the License Agreement
  • Use the SciFinder logout to end a session, instead of just closing your browser
Search notes

Finding/obtaining journal articles

See Finding Items at Fogler Library. For items not available within Fogler Library or from the library Web page, see Getting Items from Other Libraries.


Nancy Curtis, 581-1679
Science & Engineering Center, 581-1691
Reference Desk, 581-1673
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Created by: Nancy Curtis | Revised: 02/19/2014
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