In 1985, the department of chemistry at California state university, Northridge introduced chemistry 471.
Chemical literature, informationretrieval and presentation, a one- unit, one-semester course open to graduate students and to undergraduate science majors with at least junior standing (and a background in organicchemistry). The rationale behind introducing this course was to teach the students an important skill and enhance their computer literacy. Although neither a prerequisite nor required for anyoption, this course has been very popular and attracted 24 students in the spring of 1988. There is no significant difference in the performances of graduate and undergraduate students. Formerstudents who have entered doctoral programs have reported that their training in the use of the literature has been most useful.
The information retrieval instruction deals with both hardcopy searches and electronic data base searches. The resources available from chemical abstracts (AC) (1) and chemical abstracts services have received the most attention, but the courseprovides instruction in the science citation index (2), Beilstein Handbuch der organischen Chemie (3), Gmelin Handbuch der anorganischen Chemie (4), spectra collections and other sources,such as the Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia of chemical Technology (5).The lecture notes were developed from sources such as the 1979 version of the America Chemical Society audio course (6) (thenotes were updated to reflect changes in Chemical Abstract since 1979), a textbook (7), and explanatory materials for Beilstein (8), and CAS online (9). Although these sources are either onreserve in the library or available on loan from the chemistry office, no textbook is required and no readings assigned. Consultation with the librarians insures that the lecture material,