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Chemistry: CHEM 281 / BCHM 281

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Chemical Data

A student in the past mentioned this book was useful for finding chemical data

Questions and Answers

These are some of the questions students in the class have asked in the past. If you have other questions, get in touch with me and I'll add any answers that are useful to share – John


Q) What is the difference between an abstract and a review article?

An abstract is a paragraph that summarises just one article. A review article is a full paper that looks at a large number of articles on a given topic and summarises what all of them together contribute to the field of knowledge about that topic.

Q) How do I find the origin and uses of a substance?

The best way to get this broader sort of information is to look in review articles that summarise research. Search in Web of Science for your substance and refine the results to Document type = "Review".

If these articles are not specific enough, instead of starting with a "Topic" search you could start with a "Title" search (using the name of the substance again) and then narrow down again to review articles.

References and citing

Terminology can be confusing!  To "cite" or "reference" an article means the same thing, so we can also talk about a "citation" or a "reference".  A "bibliography" is a list of references.

Q) What exactly is included in a full reference?

A ) Giving the full reference means citing it with all the details needed by the ACS style.

Q) How do I find how to cite in the ACS style?

A) Go to the Library's ACS Style guide.

Q) Can I use the referencing tool in MS Word to cite in ACS style?

A) No. Word has only a handful of the commonest referencing style options available. ACS is not one of them.

Q) Do I need to abbreviate the journal title?

Yes, journal title abbreviations are part of ACS style. You can find the abbreviations you need from the Library's ACS Style page in the Journal articles section.

Q) How do I reference a journal article that was published on the Internet first (without volume/issue/page numbers) and only then later published in a physical journal?

Often journals publish an "early access" or "preprint" version of the article online before it is assigned volume/issue/page numbers. In these cases the preprint version is not considered the authoritative version. In addition, it is easier for people to find an article you refer to if they have all the volume/etc details.  So in these cases it is best to reference the version that includes these details.

But if you are unsure, feel free to check with me - there's always some journal that does things differently from everyone else.

Q) If I cannot find a volume for a journal, is it ok to leave it out of the citation?

Some journals do not use volume numbering. If this is the case, apply the ACS instruction (ACS Style Guide, chapter 14)

For journals that have no volume numbers, include issue numbers, especially when the pagination of each issue begins with page 1. Use the following form. Note that the issue number is not italicized.

Wills, M. R.; Savory, J. Lancet 1983, No. 2, 29.

Q) For a bibliography in ACS style, do the references have to be in alphabetical order or in the order they appear in the assignment?

In ACS style the references are in the order they appear in the article, so I suggest you put them in that order for your assignment too.

Usually in ACS you would put a number1 wherever they are mentioned in the paper, and then in the bibliography you would number them in order – see the example bibliography on our ACS Style pages in the Sample reference list section. I am unsure whether this will suit the format of your assignment or not, but if it feels appropriate you could do it like that.

Other questions?

Phone, email or (if I am online) chat with me in the "Ask John" box to the right.

Contact me for help

John Arnold's picture
John Arnold
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Central Library, Level 5
Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm
3693905 (internal 93905)

University Library
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140

Phone: +64 3 369 4888 (ext 94888)

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