One of Four Universities Chosen Nationwide, UB Opens On-Line Chemical Data System to Community

Release Date: February 9, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Researchers and manufacturers, as well as students and faculty in the Western New York region who want to perform chemical-information computer searches faster and more efficiently, are invited to take advantage of a new, on-line training program now operating at the University at Buffalo.

The program offers training on more than 180 scientific databases, ranging from pharmaceuticals to materials science to environmental issues and energy, by providing hardware, software and audiovisual equipment.

UB was chosen as one of only four sites in the United States for the teaching-partnership program by Chemical Abstract Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society and a key source of published data. Rutgers University, Northwestern University and the University of California at San Diego also were named as sites. The universities were chosen based on their location, their desire to operate a training center and their existing scientific and online searching instructional programs.

Designed to make searches for a broad range of 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. Up until now, 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.

CAS is the North American service center for STN International (the Scientific Technical Network), providing direct access to the world's scientific and technical databases, which provide abstracts of scientific articles.

At each site, CAS has set up state-of-the-art, on-line training facilities for use by university and CAS staff in conducting CAS and STN International workshops.

Training workshops that teach how to conduct most basic searches are free and open to members of the community, as well as UB students, staff and faculty. In-depth training sessions for databases that cover specific files are available for a fee; members of academic institutions receive a 50-percent discount.

ChemAbstracts staff also will custom-design training programs for companies or other institutions and offer them at the UB center.

Training sessions will be held the first full week of every month at UB, beginning on March 7, from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 128 in the Undergraduate Library in Capen Hall on the North (Amherst) Campus.

Sessions on specific files also will be held, beginning with one on "Chemistry" from 1-4 p.m. on March 7. Fees vary, depending on the type of training being offered.

For further information about training sessions, contact 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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