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Chemistry Research

tips on searching databases, finding journals from citations, and using Interlibrary Loan services

Getting Started

checkIt's important to have a good broad understanding of your topic before you start looking for specific information. The sources in the boxes below can give you an overview of your subject and help you refine your research strategy and find useful terms to use in searches.

Doing research in any field will always reveal unexpected complexities and facets of the topic at hand. Get a head start on the complications that will come up by using the library resources on this page.

Printed reference sources

book stack iconEven in the world of expanding online information sources, sometimes it's easier to look up information in a print reference book. Two major print resources for chemistry, shelved in the Library's Reference area, on the 1st floor, are:

  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. REF QD 65 .H3. This is the standard reference for basic formulas and other information in the physical sciences.
  • Merck Index. REF RS 51 .M4. Covers chemicals especially as related to their use in drugs and biologicals.

Some other reference titles that might be useful in chemistry research (also in the Reference area):

  • A to Z of Chemists. REF QD 21 .O34 2002
  • Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary. QD 5 .C5 2007 
  • Macmillan Encyclopedia of Chemistry. REF QD 4 .M33 1997

Chemistry Encyclopedias

Here are a few encyclopedias specifically related to chemistry included in the Gale Virtual Reference collection. These indexes also cover many related reference books in the general sciences, biology, physics, environmental studies, etc. The best strategy is to put your search term in one of the boxes above, rather than searching only in a particular reference.

Gale Virtual Reference Library

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Free online resources

chemistryThe folks at AcademicEarth have compiled the following listings of free online chemistry courses, selected by their experts as being some of the best on the web. The site also includes links to their favorite blogs and to important professional organizations. Note that the journals they reference, while being the most important ones in the field, might not be freely accessible.

The government provides many free databases related to chemistry. You can find some here:

Guides & compilations

The Blume Library website offers research guides and compilations of resources like databases that can save your research time. Here are some selected resources:

Database Compilations


This guide was originally developed by retired librarian Kathy Amen.