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Science - Chemistry 2 & 3 - Organic & Analytical Chemistry: Organic Chemistry: Library Assignment Instructions

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About the Practical

The Library training sessions for Chemistry 2: Organic Chemistry will take place on 26th & 27th July 2023

Level 2: Library Training Room

CEM2B Assignment

The assignment due date: 

21 August 2023, Monday by 16:00

Drop at: Pavlinka's office on Level 4 @APK Library

Pavlinka Kovatcheva,

Faculty Librarian: Sciences

011 559-2621

Links to the Assignment Exercises:

Primary & Secondary Chemistry Literature

The complete, written, published record of chemical knowledge is referred to as the chemical literature. The primary literature, or original literature, comprises the original reports of compound preparation, compound characterization, mechanistic studies, etc. These reports usually appear in research journals (as articles, notes and communications) and in patent disclosures.

Some of the research journals in Organic Chemistry are:

  • Journal of the American Chemical Society
  • Journal of Organic Chemistry
  • Chemical Communications
  • South African Journal of Chemistry

From the primary literature, information flows into the secondary literature. The secondary literature consist of compilations of data, articles reviewing entire areas of research, textbooks, abstracts or summaries of individual current research articles, etc.

While the primary literature concerns itself with the reports of new findings, the goal of the secondary literature publications is to summarise and correlate chemical knowledge. The summarization and correlation are necessary because of the sheer volume of chemical knowledge. Also, as new facts are discovered, chemical theories undergo modifications, and previous errors in the literature are corrected. No person could possibly keep up with current chemical news and views by reading the primary literature alone. The secondary literature allows us to keep abreast of an area of study; to find the physical constants of a compound or to find a pertinent original journal article. 

Retrieving Information from Chemistry Literature

How we retrieve information from the chemical literature depends on the type of information desired.

  • If you are doing in depth investigation on a topic, the ultimate goal of information retrieval would be to find the original report that contains the raw data from which all other reports are derived.
  • If, for example, you need only the melting point of an organic compound, you can stop your literature search once you have found the information in a reference work.  
  • If you want to survey a general topic of original chemistry, such as Perkin reaction, you would probably look for journals articles or book chapters.
  • If for example you want to repeat a particular synthetic scheme already reported in the literature, you would want to study the original journal article in order to find out the exact reaction conditions used and what problems were encountered.

Subject Guide

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Pavlinka Kovatcheva
University of Johannesburg Library
Auckland Park Campus
+27 11 5592621