Physical & Chemical Properties

Physical & Chemical Properties: Overview


This site is an index to physical and chemical properties data located primarily in the UW-Madison Chemistry Library and the UW-Madison electronic library. This is a dynamic collection of sources. As time permits, reference sources from other UW-Madison libraries will be added to the index.

To use the index, click on the property of interest in Property List or browse the index via alphabetical listing. Begin with Standard Sources.

For assistance locating property data, see Tips for Locating Property Data below or contact AskChem.

Tips For Locating Property Data*

  1. Search under all synonyms for the property when using a database or handbook
    Example: dissociation constant or pKa or ionisation constant or ionization constant
  2. Determine property symbol and/or unit.
    See CRC Handbook Symbols and Terminology for Physical and Chemical Quantities, Section 2-1.
  3. Try searching for a substance by CAS registry number, chemical name, molecular formula, and/or structure. Not all databases index CAS registry number.
  4. If searching by chemical name, use various names: Chemical Abstracts (direct or inverted), IUPAC (direct or inverted), common, trade. Check Merck, CCINFOWeb and CAS Registry File in SciFinder Scholar for synonyms.
    Example: 2,4-dimethylpyridine or Pyridine, 2,4-dimethyl-
  5. If searching by molecular formula, know how molecular formulas are alphabetized in your source.
    Organic compounds: Carbon, Hydrogen, others in alphabetical order
    Inorganic compounds: May not be indexed as written
    Polymers: Try monomer
    Example: CHNO or HOCN
    Example: KBr or BrK
    Example: SO2Cl or Cl2OS
  6. Search under the subject area as well as the property name.
    Example: If looking for extinction coefficient, also try UV
  7. In print sources, search by using one or more of the indexes.
    Example: Dictionary of Inorganic Substances has four indexes: Structural Type, Name, CAS Registry Number, and Element
  8. Use the correct truncation symbol when searching online databases.
  9. Start with basic property data sources.
  10. If you can't find your property data using these resources, try a RESEARCH TOPIC search in SciFinder Web. SciFinder Web's natural language searching is useful for retrieving obscure terminology.

*Adapted from "Finding Property Data" developed by Jessica C. Brooks in fulfillment of School of Library and Inforamtion Studies Bibliographic Instruction practicum, Spring, 2003 and "Finding Property Data in Online Sources Workshop", July, 2004 Emily Wixson.

About this Properties Index

Linda Shackle at Arizona State University is the inspiration for this site. I was introduced to Linda's Index to Physical, Chemical and Other Property Data site several years ago, and I immediately wanted to duplicate it at UW-Madison. After reviewing several property data sites*, I began by compiling a list of properties to be included in the index. This properties list became the controlled vocabulary list used to index property data sources collected in an EndNote library. We use EndNote's subject bibliography feature to generate individual sections of the index.

A two-year project, the index could not have been completed without the help of Kimberly Babcock, UW-Madison SLIS Spring 2005 practicum student. Ms. Babcock reviewed the EndNote library, developed data collection procedures, added additional titles from the Chemistry Library and the UW-Madison online catalog, assisted with site design, and generated the individual alphabetical pages. Her participation in this project was essential to its completion.

*Property data sites:
Chemical & Physical Property Information Resources. Duke
Chemistry. Caltech
Finding chemical data in Web and Library sources. University of Adelaide
Finding Physical and Chemical Properties. Vanderbilt
Index to Physical, Chemical and Other Property Data. ASU
Materials Properties Locator Database. SUNY-Buffalo
Physical Property Information. Indiana
Searching the Chemical Literature. Yale

Emily Wixson
Chemistry Librarian/Reference and Instruction