Below are a list of frequently asked questions by chemistry and biochemistry students. If you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact the chemistry librarian.
Thanks to a special CSU fund, the library automatically buys required course textbooks. Look for the book by checking the Course Reserves in CLUES (the library catalogue) either by Course Code (example CHEM 205) or Instructor.
Find out which books have been requested for your courses by searching the Concordia Bookstore online.
If we don't have the recommended text, or if you are looking for alternative explanations for topics covered in a course, try a KEYWORD SEARCH in CLUES for the general subject area. For example, you might search for 'physical chemistry' and limit to a year after 2000. Look for words like 'introduction' or 'advanced' for the appropriate level of material.
These are readings that your profs expect your class to use, such as articles, books, book chapters, and solution manuals.
Check for Course Reserves in CLUES, either by Course Code (example CHEM 205) or Instructor. The loan period for an item is shown in the record. Be sure to write down the call number to retrieve the item from the appropriate Circulation Desk.
The best way to connect to library resources from home is by using the IITS' VPN client. Make sure to read the download and configuration instructions carefully. Once you have downloaded and configured the VPN client, you can logon to the VPN using your netname and password and then connect to library resources.
There are two types of error messages you might get when connecting to SciFinder:
Access to SciFinder is not authorized from this IP address.To use SciFinder from home, you will need to download and configure the VPN client.
Finding data to compare with your lab results can be difficult. Experimental conditions often vary. Here are some suggestions:
These are essential tools for finding data on compounds. The standard 'first-choice' reference handbooks are:
Latest edition is kept at the Vanier Reference Desk. Consult earlier editions, shelved in REF QD 65 H3 at Vanier. Basic data such as density, melting and boiling points, do not change from year to year. This handbook contains many tables, including Physical Constants of Organic Compounds, and ...of Inorganic Compounds.
Latest edition is kept at the Reference Desk at both libraries, with earlier editions at Vanier RS 51 M4. It provides data and related references for compounds having pharmacological properties.
The nomenclature for chemical compounds often presents problems and confusion for students. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) produces the official nomenclature rules to devise chemical/scientific names. The over 50 million unique substances now registered with Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) each have an official CAS name, based on the strict nomenclature rules of IUPAC. The problem is that chemical substances can also have many common names and tradenames and not all publishers or commercial suppliers use the IUPAC or CAS nomenclature.
Not all compounds will be found in one resource but to determine if information on a substance is included in any publication check the accomanying indexes. Use the synonym indexes or the CAS-RN indexes (see below).
Chemical Abstracts Service uses their official Registry Numbers (CAS-RNs) to identify the over 50 million unique chemical substances. A substance can be known by many different names but it will have only one RN assigned to it. This means a substance can be precisely identified.
A CAS-RN is the square-bracketed number [xxxx-xx-x] you will find associated with a substance in various print indexes, reference works, and databases.
If you have a literature reference to a substance the RN may appear in the document. The ultimate repository that you have access to at Concordia is SciFinder. Otherwise, you can try a reference handbook or one of the following free Web tools: ChemIDplus, NIST, or Sigma-Aldrich.
For a listing, with call numbers, of major collections of spectra and spectral data in the library see the Sources In Spectra. For free online sources take a look at our guide to finding Chemical & Physical Properties.
Not only do literature references often use abreviated names of journals but your profs might refer to the familiar acronyms for well-known journals. CLUES cannot interpret abreviations so you will need to find the full title of a journal.
Try Periodical Title Abbreviations (PN 4832 P47+). The latest editions are at the Vanier and Webster Reference Desks. Also at the Vanier Reference Desk is CASSI (Z 5523 A24) from Chemical Abstracts Service (great for conference proceedings and obscure references).
Before citing your sources check with your professor as to what style to use. The American Chemical Society (ACS) has its own style, published as the ACS Style Guide, explaining how to cite journal articles, books, patents, web sites, etc.
Take a look at the abbreviated ACS guide created by the chemistry librarian.
For other citation guides, as well as grammar guides, visit the Libraries' Citation and Style Guides page.
These will only be available in the library if a professor has placed them on reserve for a class. Check for Course Reserves in CLUES, either by Course Code (example CHEM 205) or Instructor. Be sure to write down the call number to retrieve the item from the appropriate Circulation Desk.