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.

More like this

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.

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.

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.

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.

Now that's wrong!

I had a physics professor once who, when asked a question, would say "that's trivial". Of course, everything we students would ask him was trivial, but he didn't get that part!