Monday, July 25, 2016


Hurt, C. D. Informational sources in science and technology. 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1998. pp. 101-102 
With its roots in alchemy, chemistry is the science of transformation. The literature of chemistry reflects this characteristic, constantly changing in a variety of ways. An example is the adoption of elements from physics into chemistry. Quantum chemistry is now a respected and intellectually rich area of chemistry. Traditionally divided into organic and inorganic chemistry, chemistry also has areas of intellectual activity such as analytical chemistry and physical chemistry.

Chemists publish most often in journals and in short bursts of information. A chemical journal article might not be more than one or two pages in printed form. Some people have accused chemists of publication of LPUs (least publishable unit). Those who make the claim generally come from disciplines where the publication has a double-digit page length.

Journal articles and conference proceedings are the stuff of chemistry. In this respect, chemistry is like other areas. Where it differs is in the control of its literature. Whether chemists simply understood that their literature needed to be controlled or whether the institutions of controls were unintended, chemistry is better controlled bibliographically than any other scientific discipline. Chemical Abstracts is one of the premier abstracting and indexing services in the world. Within chemistry, it is the premier abstracting and indexing service. Because chemists publish in small components, a consequence of this publication characteristic is that they publish a great deal. Chemical Abstracts does an excellent job of gathering this information and making it available to the research world.

One problem related to bibliographic control in chemistry is particularly vexing. Chemistry is often very graphic; that is, chemical equations are often paired with chemical structures. The highly graphical nature of chemistry is handled reasonably well by databases within the Chemical Abstracts Service (now CAS) umbrella. The ability to search by chemical structure is one of the more interesting and innovative means of bibliographic control in science and technology. Chemists share many of the same problems with others in science, specifically, the lag time in journal publication. To counter this problem, chemistry enrages an intermediary publication, a letters journal. Letters journals are used to report findings that will soon be published. In effect, chemists use such journals to announce forthcoming papers. This technique significantly shortens the period from discovery to dissemination.

The relative shortness of chemistry papers either as letters or as articles suggests that electronic journals are a solution to the burgeoning chemical literature. However, although there are some extant examples, the use of letters journals seem to mitigate the need for electronic journals. There is a second reason, hinted as above, why chemistry will move more slowly into the electronic journal. Graphics-intensive material is difficult to convert into electronic form. The secondary literature is much more susceptible to conversion.

Changes in chemistry will come mainly from the movement of other fields into the main intellectual body of chemistry. A current example is the use of Riemann surfaces to describe and model certain chemical structures. The chemist must not only know the basics of chemistry but also have a passing understanding of some complicated mathematics.

Additional changes in chemistry will come from its melding with other disciplines. Biochemistry is one example. The entrance of other disciplines and techniques into chemistry will spread its literature to those other disciplines. The result will be a richer discipline but greater difficulty for bibliographic control of the field.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Environmental sciences

Hurt, C.D. Informational Sources in Science and Technology, 3rd Ed. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1998. pp.117-118. 

Environmental sciences
The environmental sciences are a mixture of disciplines. In a number of ways, they typify science and its development. The environmental sciences combine the intellectual content of several disciplines into a new discipline. A consequence is that defining environmental sciences should be done with care. The terms will mean different things to different people. 
The main constituents in environmental sciences are chemistry, biology, zoology, geoscience, ecology, and the engineering fields. To its credit, the environmental sciences incorporated these fields in a very short time and with remarkable continuity. Early in the 1970s a variety of scientists and technologists were publishing in newly established environmental sciences journals. The field was hot, and some researchers in chemistry, biology, and other fields found it easier to publish in journals that were new and hungry for solid papers. The environmental sciences were also a hot area for federally funded research in the early 1970s and beyond. The combination of funding and movement into an area perceived as fast-moving and cutting-edge was very attractive to some researchers. 
The downturn in federal funding and the maturing of the discipline has tended to stabilize the field. It is still a field made up of persons who, for the most part, were trained in other disciplines. Because of their relative youth, the environmental sciences are predominately journal-driven with heavy reliance on conferences to assist in pulling the literature together. Monographs are being written, but fewer than in other fields. 
One bibliographic consequence of the environmental sciences’ use of such a variety of literature is difficulty with finding and controlling that literature. The environmental sciences were lucky, however. The expansion of the field came at a time when funding for abstracting and indexing services were available and when computerized indexing and automation techniques were becoming widely used in the secondary literature. Environmental Abstracts is an example of an abstracting and indexing tool. 
The future for the environmental sciences is one of maturation. This means there will be some consolidation of journals and secondary sources. It means an expansion in some areas of the field, with a concomitant increase in the number of journals and the inevitable lag time for the material to find its way into the secondary literature. 
In using the material below, the reader must exercise more caution than in any other area of science and technology. The researcher or reference librarian must note that in more cases than not, there is a parallel literature in another discipline in addition to that found in the environmental sciences.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Environmental science readings, abstracts, indexes, online resources and guides

Environmental Science

Environment. From The Canadian Encyclopedia

Check out links to other sites section

Hurt, C.D. Informational Sources in Science and Technology, 3rd Ed. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1998. pp117-118.

Safyan, SA. Access to information for environmentalists: a library perspective. Canadian Library Journal 47: 337-43.

Abstracts, Indexes, etc.

Energy, Science and Technology Information at the Office of Scientific and Technical Information

U.S. Department of Energy Web site with links to following searchable databases:

* Information Bridge and Energy Citations
Information Bridge is a searchable index and full text database of all research done by and for the Department of Energy since 1995, with projects in biology, environment, physics, chemistry, and engineering.

Energy Citations includes bibliographic records of literature in disciplines of interest to U.S. Department of Energy such as chemistry, physics, materials, environmental science, geology, engineering, mathematics, climatology, oceanography, computer science and related disciplines. It includes citations to report literature, conference papers, journal articles, books, dissertations, and patents. The Database provides access to DOE publicly available citations from 1958 through the present.

* E-print Network
Documents that researchers circulate electronically in advance or in lieu of publication.

Forest History Society. Environmental History Bibliography.
Contains over 35,000 annotated citations to books, articles, and dissertations published from 1633 to the present.

Manitoba Conservation. Library Services.
Web site of Conservation and Environment Library.

Online Resources and Guides
*Keiser, BE. Our environment: part 1, general sources. Searcher [Internet]. 2002 [cited June 3, 2016]; 10(8):[about 16 p.]Available from:

Keiser, BE. Our environment: part 2, governments, laws, and organizations. Searcher [Internet]. 2002 [cited June 3, 2016]; 10 (10):[about 11 p.]. Available from

Keiser, BE. Our environment: part 3, the science and technology. Searcher [Internet]. 2002 [cited June 3, 2016]; 11 (2):[about 5 p.]. Available from

The Electronic Green Journal
Provides peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, news, and information on current printed and electronic sources concerning international environmental topics.

Joint site from EnviroLink Network, Animal Concerns Community, and others. Maintains a database of thousands of environmental resources.

Environment Canada.
A comprehensive site devoted to the environment: acts and regulations; conferences and events; programs and services, including clean air, water, climate change, environmental assessment and enforcement, chemical safety, pollution, endangered species, etc.; and related links.

Environmental Research and Studies Centre. University of Alberta.
This comprehensive resource and links site is designed for:
Scientists seeking information on environmental research programs and researchers;
Students seeking information about environmental studies programs, courses, and careers;
Teachers seeking science-based resource materials for their classrooms;
Citizens seeking information about current environmental issues in Alberta, Canada and the World.

Environmental Studies and Sciences

Developed to help students find and access environment related information by collecting and organizing it into one resource. It is a collection of Canadian and international environment-related links to the World Wide Web. All links have been categorized into recognizable themes on how we impact our surroundings.

International Institute for Sustainable Development
IISD promotes the transition towards a sustainable future. We seek to demonstrate how human ingenuity can be applied to improve the well-being of the environment, economy, and society.

Sustainable Development Timeline

Internet Public Library. Environmental Sciences and Ecology

Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators – Environmental Science

Canada’s School Net Learning Resources

Librarians’ Index to the Internet: Environment

Manitoba Conservation

Conservation Data Centre
The Manitoba Conservation Data Centre (MBCDC) is a storehouse of information on Manitoba’s biodiversity – its plant and animal species, as well as its natural plant communities.

McGill University Libraries. Environmental Studies See also Subject Guide: Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

State of the Environment Infobase
The State of the Environment Infobase was administered by the National Indicators and Reporting Office, and presented Environment Canada’s work on state of the environment reporting and environmental indicators – designed to translate science and data into information and knowledge that can be used.

Vaughan Memorial Library. Environmental Science Research Guide – Reference Sources
Lists both print and online resources.

Environmental disasters Disasters

Disaster! Finder Disaster Finder was a service developed and maintained by NASA, Solid Earth and Natural Hazards Program (Code YO), NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., USA. This service was created for the disaster community at-large so that the best links in disaster information could be found quickly and easily.

Natural Disaster References Database
A bibliographic database on research, programs, and results which relate to the use of satellite remote sensing for disaster mitigation. The NDRD was compiled and abstracted from articles published from 1981 to January 2000.

Core collections EPA Core List for an Environmental Reference Collection
A listing of information resources in the areas of environmental protection, management, and science as selected by librarians supporting the United States Environmental Protection Agency.