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Science: Chemistry

An overview of resources to get you started in studying or researching science topics.


"Life is largely a matter of chemistry."

— William J. Mayo, American physician

According to College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, 96.2% of our bodies are made up of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen.  Chemical elements are the building blocks that make up matter, including what you eat and drink, the air that you breath, and the sun that lights our days.  Chemistry is part of our everyday lives.  Explore the exciting world of chemistry.

Chemistry Search Tips

1) Start with an overview for your topic.  For example, you can start with an encyclopedia such as Credo Reference or Gale Virtual Reference Library (see list of BPL resources below) to get a basic idea of what your topic is all about.

2) Once you have a general idea of what your topic is about, you can narrow your topic down by subcategory, such as "Elements" or "Biochemistry" under "Chemistry."

3) Search for more information on your topic using journal article databases, government websites, organization websites, etc.  A good place to start is the Science in Context database which includes reference resources, experiments, statistics, magazine and academic journal articles, news articles, maps, multimedia, and external websites.

Different types of information that you can look for include:

  • Overview -- General description or outline of a topic
  • Statistics -- Collection of quantitative data
  • Evidence -- A visible sign of a phenomenon; something which demonstrates that a phenomenon or theory exists or is true
  • Guides -- "How-to" instructions or an outline of how to do something
  • News Articles -- Article from a newspaper or other news source; good source of current and local information and can be considered a primary source
  • Blogs -- Website on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences
  • Journal Articles -- Article from a magazine or academic journal
  • Multimedia -- Videos, photographs, and audio resources
  • Reports -- Official documents from the government or other institution that give information about a particular subject
  • Interviews -- Reporting of meetings at which information is obtained from a person

For more information on conducting research on a topic, see from Case Western Reserve University.


Online Chemistry Resources

These links provide access to government and other reports, statistics,  and current developments for high school and college students as well as anyone interested in chemistry and chemistry-related fields.


American Chemical Society
Contains news, research, and current developments in chemistry. 

American Chemistry Council
Provides access to the ChemFinder database, which gives information on a chemical and what it is used for. 

General Chemistry Online
Includes a compound library, articles, tutorials, and special calculators.

National Science Foundation
Provides access to research, discoveries, and news in chemistry and materials science.

Eric Weisstein's World of Chemistry
An electronic encyclopedia of chemistry that includes organic, inorganic and quantum chemistry.

Johnson County Community College
Links to information about basic chemistry concepts.
Includes research and development, technical reports, journal citations, databases, federal websites, and fact sheets.

Organic Chemistry Portal
Includes information about organic reactions, chemicals, and more.  Includes access to the OSIRIS Property Explorer.

Resources at the Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library provides access to indexes and full-text articles through the Electronic Resources page (  Many of these resources are available off-site to residents of Massachusetts.  Suggested databases are listed below:


The catalog for the Boston Public Library is available at

Suggested subject headings:

For assistance with searching and locating items held by the Boston Public Library and other libraries in the Metro Boston Library Network, see