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Chemistry and Biochemistry

Selected Databases

Finding Journal Articles

Step One:  Choose a Database

Databases serve as indexes to magazines and journals.  Some databases such as Academic OneFile and Web of Science cover general and multidisciplinary topics; others such as SciFinder and PubMed are specialized and cover one subject area in great depth.  This page list databases most useful for chemists and biochemists.

If you already know the name of the database you would like to search, you can get to it directly by searching for its name on the Library databases page.

Step Two:  Search for Articles within the Database

Identify important search terms and concepts. Make a list of key search terms that relate to your topic. PubMed has a thesaurus within the database which will help you identify related and synonymous terms.

Enter search terms and combine them for more effective searching. While databases vary, most of them allow you to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) to combine terms.  Examples:

(van der waals) AND (critical point shift ) 
(polymer morphology) AND (environmental stress)
(Delaware OR Chesapeake) AND (bays OR marshes)

Locating Gray Literature

Gray (or grey*) Literature generally refers to multiple document types produced on all levels of government, academics, business, and organization in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing, i.e., where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body.

A few examples are newsletters, technical notes, working papers, white papers, patents, reports, conference proceedings, doctoral theses/dissertations.

To learn more about the topic, consult the website of GreyNet International ( See also the Gray Literature research guide from California State University, Long Beach.

*Is it "gray" or "grey" literature?  In America, the spelling is grAy, while in England the spelling is grEy. [From].