Chemical Information Sources/Preface

The Chemical Information Sources Wikibook is a guide to the many sources of reference materials available to those with questions related to chemistry, regardless of the format. Included are printed books, journals, and reference materials, as well as both free and commercial databases, software, and other computer-accessible resources.

For over 27 years, I taught a one-semester-hour undergraduate course entitled "Chemical Information Sources and Services." Around 1995, I began to put on the web the lecture notes, handouts, and other materials for the C471 course. It is with the hope that others will continue to use, help maintain, and update the resource that the Wikibooks version has been created. The same is true for the SIRCh and CIIM supplements described below.

The lecture notes were originally adapted from the textbook Chemical Information Sources (NY: McGraw-Hill, 1991). When the book went out of print, the copyright was re-assigned by McGraw-Hill to me. Although this Wikibook might be viewed as a "derivative work" of the textbook, it is intended to be an open-source work, which anyone with the appropriate knowledge and desire can improve or build on.

There are many links to external sources in the text of the chapters of Chemical Information Sources. For the most part, these are optional links, and it is not necessary to connect to them to get the basic knowledge in the chapters. They provide more information about the tool or site being discussed. However, see below for the note about the images that would normally be inserted into the text. You should connect to those images and return to the text once they have been viewed.

Several related tools are available:

  • SIRCh: Selected Internet Resources for Chemistry links to factual sources on the Internet where answers can be found to chemical questions. At the end of most CIS Wikibook chapters there is a link to a relevant SIRCh page.
  • CIIM: Chemical Information Instructional Materials links to additional materials that are designed to instruct people in the use of chemical reference tools.
  • CRSD: Chemical Reference Sources Database is a somewhat outdated searchable database of books, databases, and other reference materials that might be found in or accessible through a chemistry or science library. Author/Editor, Title, or Keyword searches are possible.

Note to future contributors:

At present, there is a debate going on about how to handle images that I hope will eventually be visible directly in the Wikibook version of Chemical Information Sources. In the interim, the images are found on a web server and linked at points where you will find the designation "IMAGE" in the text.

Some conventions have been followed in punctuating this Wikibook.

  • When a paper product is discussed, put the title in italics, e.g., Chemical Abstracts. If it is a database, do not italicze the title, e.g., SPRESI.
  • The first time a new term is encountered, it is entered in bold, capital letters, e.g., ABSTRACTS and defined.


Gary Wiggins
Librarian Emeritus
Indiana University
2003 S. High Street
Bloomington, IN 47401
22 November 2010
Last modified on 1 December 2010, at 22:47