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A guide to resources in UVic Libraries for the study of chemistry

What Types of Resources do Chemists Use?

Contain peer-reviewed articles written by the scientists who conducted the research being reported. Articles are brief (3,000 - 6,000 words) and describe a research question, the experimental methods used, the data and results obtained, and the relationship of the experimental findings to previous research.

Purpose: To clearly communicate to other researchers a new piece of research.

Compilations of materials related to a branch of study. Book chapters often serve to collect theory and research together, within the context of more general information.

Purpose: To educate readers on an area of study suited to their skill level (introductory through to advanced).

Legal documents that are written by teams of researchers and lawyers and reviewed by patent officers. Patents describe the process of research and product development for a specific invention, and provide evidence of scientific advancement.

Purpose: To indicate areas of technology to which the patent holder is granted exclusive use for a set period of time.

Materials and research produced by organizations outside of the traditional commercial or academic publishing channels (collectively known as “grey literature”). Reports are commonly produced by research institutions, government agencies, companies, industry associations, market research firms, and other independent organizations.

Purpose: To report on a wide range of activities and research.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries:
Two types of reference works that contain authoritative information on topics in chemistry and related science/engineering disciplines. Both can vary widely in specificity of information presented.

Chemistry dictionaries - provide quick access to essential facts (e.g. chemical names and properties, chemical concepts). 
Chemistry encyclopedias - contain articles providing specific information within the context of a greater body of knowledge.  Provide information and key references on topics ranging from physical properties, to theory, instrumentation, and applications.

Chemical Databases:
Organized collections of information that are stored electronically, and organized according to specific topics, including chemical properties, structures, spectra, toxicity, among many others.

Purpose: To present standard chemical information in a way that is easy to search for and retrieve.

Websites, Social Media and Other Online Resources:
Contain wide ranging information created by organizations, research groups, the general public, and others, that present information specific to the needs of various audiences. Websites, social media (e.g Youtube), and other online resources can present information in more accessible and convenient ways than traditional resources.

Purpose: Ranges widely from news and opinions, to education, entertainment, commercial sales, and more.

Tools for Literature Searching

General Search Tools:

  • Summon: all-in-one search for books, e-books, and journal articles available in the UVic Libraries collections
  • Google Scholar: search for materials available on the internet: journal articles, reports, other grey literature

Chemistry Journal Articles:

  • SciFinder-N: The most comprehensive search tool for chemistry research articles and information, which is searchable by topic, author, and substance name or structure (students must register for an account).
  • Web of Science: A comprehensive search tool for scientific research articles, indexing chemistry journals, as well as other sciences and interdisciplinary topics.


Encyclopedias & Dictionaries:

Other Online Resources

Educational Videos:

Online Tools, Unit Converters and Calculators:


This guide was prepared by Geneviève Boice and Shahira Khair. It can be modified and reused freely under a CC-BY license.

Creative Commons License
This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.