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CHEM.2600: Information Retrieval for Chemists

Course outline, information and materials for all undergraduate chemists.

Welcome to Information Retrieval for Chemists

Information Retrieval for Chemists will introduce many important chemical information resources, both UML Resources and free sites.  You will learn to use these resources, and become adept at finding relevant material.  All our resources are Web-based, whether fee or free, and you will become familiar with the use of all of these important chemistry sites.  This will allow you to become expert in doing more exact searches, focusing on the best sites.

Off-Campus Access

You will need to be logged in to the UML Library to access some of the material in this guide. If you are logged in to your UML email you are logged in to the library. You may get an additional authentication phone call from Duo. This is routine. 

If prompted, enter your UML email credentials. If you still have trouble, clear the cache on your device. Email not working? Troubleshoot from here.

Office Hours -- 2024

Dr. Schrenk will hold Office hours, in her office and virtually via Zoom.   For Virtual office hours log on through Blackboard .  Dr. Schrenk will be able to demonstrate web sites or search techniques and answer any questions you have.

Office hours will be Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 11-Noon and Wednesday afternoons 1:30-2:30 in Olney 204c and virtually, as well as most Monday afternoons 3-4 (Zoom only),

You may also send questions by email at any time.    


All our classes will be held in Lydon 203, but if we have a snow day, you will be sent an email for a Zoom class, and the link will also appear inside our Blackboard.  Assignments and Handouts will be on both our Blackboard site, and this class web site. Assignments will be due on Mondays at 5:00 PM.  If you cannot access Blackboard, please contact Dr. Schrenk as soon as possible.  

This Libguide website will also be accessible and up to date, so that you should have no problem accessing the links to sources needed to complete your homework.  If a needed link does not work, please email Dr. Schrenk immediately.

OnLine Hints and Assistance

UML University-Supplied Software available to you

To see a list of UML Supplied software, go to the UML IT site.  It is advisable to check this site occasionally, as new and updated software often becomes available.  Of particular interest is the Adobe Creative Cloud, which will make it much easier for you to handle pdf files.  There is also an Anti-Virus program and other programs which are specific to various courses or Schools. 

How to upload assignments into Blackboard

In the Assignment/Submission box in Blackboard, you may upload multiple files as required by your homework assignment.  These may be Word documents, PDF files, Excel sheets, or jpg files.  Simply click the button “Browse local files,” and find the file (s) you want to upload.  You may do all files at one time, or one at a time, but there is no limit to the number of files you may upload as part of your assignment. 

We strongly suggest that you upload pdf files when asked to supply a page from a website.  To do this quickly and easily, select the PRINT button when viewing a page to be uploaded, then use the drop down menu to select PRINT TO PDF, and you will have a pdf of the necessary page, which you can name (use an appropriate name, for example, Assign. 1, Q 1 Merck.) If you have a designated folder on your computer for our class, all your pdf’s can be stored in the same location and be easily accessible.

We also ask that you do not upload screen shots.  It seems that Blackboard makes these screen shots even smaller than the originals, and therefore almost impossible for graders to read.  Definitely do not insert screen shots inside of Word documents, these cannot be opened in Blackboard.  Zip files and Google Docs also cannot be unpacked in Blackboard.

Information about the Websites you are using.

Remember that many of our sites MUST be accessed via the UML proxy gateway, (the library.)  That is, when you click on a site, you may be sent to the email login page (the page with two students and daffodils).  Since you often work from off campus, you may encounter this.  Simply login to your email account and you will be connected to the site you need.  If you "wander" away from a UML site to (for example) an open website, a company page, or an advertisement, you MAY lose your UML connection and need to repeat it to access other UML sites.  

For your convenience, here is a list of sites for which you MUST be proxied via the UML Library.

Merck, Combined Chemical Dictionaries (CCD), Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Knovel, Yaws, Academic Search Premiere, SciFinder-n, the UML Computer Catalog, the UML E-journal list, SAX's Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials, End Note Software.  ALL journal sites for which the Library pays subscription fees, such as ACS, Elsevier's Science Direct, Wiley's Science and Technology journals, Springer, Nature. 

For SciFinder-n  you still must have an account set up that shows you are affiliated with UML (i.e. use your UML email address for your username.) 

Here is a list of sites where you will NOT have to be proxied through UML.  FREE SITES.

Millipore-Sigma, PubChem,  NIST, SDBS, CASSI, Organic Syntheses, EndNote web, PubMed,  Hathitrust, ALL Patent sites, almost all US government sites (ie ending in .gov)

What to do if you cannot access a site:

Contact Dr. Schrenk by email and include the following information:  website, screenshot of error message, explanation of what you were trying to access,  approximate time and date.  Almost all websites go "down" for some small amount of time daily or weekly, to upload new content.  If the error message indicates the website is down for maintenance, wait and try it later.  (SciFinder-n is down from Sat. at 6 pm to Sunday early morning.)