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Hilton C. Buley Library


Chemistry: Intro

How to find information on all aspects of chemistry: "A couple of months in the laboratory can save a couple of hours in the library."-Frank H. Westheimer, chemistry professor (1912-2007)

Citing Chemistry Sources

The primary citation style for chemistry is the ACS (American Chemical Society) Style.

  • The ACS style guide: effective communication of scientific information (the full manual) is available in the Reference Collection (1st floor) at Ref. QD8.5 .A25 2006
  • A Quick Guide to ACS Style (PDF) is available from Penn State

Another common style is the CSE (Council of Science Editors) Style.

  • Scientific style and format: the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishers (the full manual) is available in the Reference Collection (2nd floor) at Ref. T11 .S386 2006
  • A set of examples is available from Ohio State

Both formats are available in EndNote WebMendeley, and Zotero.

Chemical Bonds

Chemical bonding has never been so cute.

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Scientific Literature

Science literature is made up of primary and secondary literature, or scholarly literature--research reports and analysis--and tertiary literature--news, opinion, and summaries. In most cases, you should use the "most primary" source available for academic work.

Tertiary literature is a general term for non-original or non-scholarly work. Science stories in newspapers are tertiary. Textbooks are also generally considered tertiary, because they report summaries of research and analysis, not original work. Most Dictionaries and Encylopedias are tertiary and should be used for background information, identification of key vocabulary terms for searching, and quick information. See the Background Information Tab above for resources.

Scholarly literature (primary and secondary) is mostly made up of Journal Articles, primarily searched through online databases, or Scholarly Books, searched in the Library Catalog. See the Journal Articles tab and/or the Books tab above for resources.

Websites can be any level of literature. The websites listed in this guide (under the Websites tab) are chosen specifically for quality. Articles and Data sites are mostly Primary or Secondary. General, Educational, and Guides are mostly teritiary.

Chemistry News

What's new in Chemistry? Updated news from

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Sciences Librarian

Kari Swanson's picture
Kari Swanson
Hilton C. Buley Library
BU 016N


Content published prior to 9/1/2017 written or compiled by Rebecca Hedreen, Sciences and Distance Learning Librarian.