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