New Program Puts Chemical Data At Scientists' Fingertips

Release Date: October 19, 1993 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo has been named one of four sites in the United States for a new, on-line teaching-partnership program sponsored by Chemical Abstract Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society and a key source of published data.

The program provides hardware, software and audiovisual equipment to train students, scientists and members of the community to perform chemical-information searches by computer faster and more efficiently.

CAS is the North American service center for STN International (the Scientific Technical Network), which provides direct access to the world's scientific and technical databases. Information that is provided is in the form of abstracts of scientific articles.

Rutgers University, Northwestern University and the University of California at San Diego also were named as sites. At each site, CAS will set up state-of-the-art, on-line training facilities for use by university and CAS staff in conducting CAS and STN International workshops.

Designed to make searches for chemical information easier and more widely available, the partnership grant provides UB with 15 new IBM PCs and new software to access databases.

"When scientists conduct research, it's vital that they know what's been done in the field," said David A. Cadenhead, Ph.D., associate dean of the UB Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and a professor of chemistry.

But, he said, volumes of CAS abstracts fill whole rooms, and searching through them can be unwieldy and imprecise. One five-year index alone can number 100 volumes. Those searching for information have either had to make their way through the printed copies or attempt to do an on-line search, which can be expensive if someone is not adequately trained.

Starting in December, UB students, staff and faculty, as well as members of the community, will be able to participate in training workshops that will teach them how to conduct most basic searches. In-depth training sessions for databases that cover specific files also will be available. Information about training sessions may be obtained from Priscilla Clarke, laboratory director in the UB Chemistry Department, at 829-3023; Thomas Mroziak, the department's executive officer, at 829-3277, or Maiken Naylor, chemistry/math librarian, at 829-2165.

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