Well, sometimes you just have to Google it

So there I was, try all kinds of librarian ninja tricks on the fanciest, most expensive research databases money can buy (SciFinder, Reaxys, Inspec...) and no joy. Couldn't find what I needed. I'm perfectly willing to admit that I don't know all that much chemistry, but usually I do ok since I work with one chemist quite a bit. Finally I gave up and googled it. After a few tries, I found way down in the results an article about something else (like I needed a chemical in an aqueous solution and it had the chemical in alcohol), but the snippet drew my eye. Sure enough - had a table with my data in it. An ACS journal from 1945.

The data I needed were not the focus of the paper - they were there sort of as a calibration or reference type thingy - to show what the setup would do with no alcohol. So it's absolutely right that the document wouldn't have come up in my search, because technically the article didn't match. That's why the full text search worked.

It could be that I could locate the info using SpringerImages (but it's an ACS article) or using CSA's deep indexing (is illustrata still around? I did try Aerospace & High Tech).  Lesson learned.

8 responses so far

  • Jack Vinson says:

    Doesn't your librarian Ninja include Googling things? Or is this all part of the Ninja training? The well-trained mind goes a long way.

  • Christina Pikas says:

    Yes, of course 🙂 And I am an excellent googler. I just have to remember to try that and this is one of the reasons why.

  • this is the one real truth - Google is like God - knows everything 😀

  • Passerby says:

    You must have been looking for solubility/Ksp tables or IR/UV spectral absorbances of a compound in various solvents. Lucky you, that the ACS has online electronic documents going back that far. A few of the UK and German organic/industrial technical journals/professional society pubs do this, but many others don't.
    The other approach is to find the technical handbooks that have these reference lookup tables for many thousand compounds.
    If I can't find something like this on-line directly in a citation, the next best approach is to ask in plain english where to find it, in a google search.

  • Christina Pikas says:

    Actually, that's not what I was looking for. I did try a bunch of handbooks, with no luck. Besides using the online versions (like of CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics), I tried Google Books to look for others.

  • ranggaw0636 says:

    "if you have a question ask google"
    That's what my professor always say to me

  • Bob Buntrock says:

    Just remember, when Googling, caveat emptor. If it leads to a refereed article (like the note above), you're probably OK (just as good as the quality of a subject search) but otherwise, watch out.

    Not so much for data, but there's a lot of good chemical information in Wikipedia. There's a knowledgable group that monitors and edits input and CAS Registry Numbers are even included.

  • Sue Woodson says:

    I was trying to make just this point earlier today. Sometimes you need full text searching because what you want isn't the main point of the article or the book. Thanks for explaining with a real life example.