Chemical Informatics Letters

Volume 10, Issue 4; April 2005

Editor: Jonathan M Goodman

Google Print
Google Print is a project to include as much book information as possible in Google searches, by digitising libraries. If copyright permits it, it is possible to read a whole book on-line, but more often, searches will return just a few sentences. For example, a Google search for 'book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica' does not find Newton's most famous book, but 'book Origin of Species' leads to Darwin's most famous book. A search for 'book origin of the species' which is only slightly different to the correct title, does not find the book. A search for 'book chemistry' finds a number of chemistry books. Linus Pauling's 'General Chemistry' is available, but only a few pages can be browsed.

Impermanence of Data
Information which used to be available is being restricted, as a result of concerns about 'security' this article suggests. This information includes reports from the Los Alamos Laboratory on metallurgy and physics.

Dialog from Thomson now provides chemical structure searching.

Patent Accessibility
On-line patent databases should make it easier to check patents, but a recent article in World Patent Information (volume 27, page 27), summarised in the New Scientist, shows that Espacenet, the European online patent database, is missing hundreds of thousands of documents from the UK Patent Office and the equivalent French and German offices. Some of the missing documents are recent.

Facts about Open Access
The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Stanford's HighWire Press are funding a study on open access, and the results of the first stage are available: The facts about open access.

Open access journals
About 1543 scientific and scholarly journals are available under open access arrangement.

Creative Archive Group
The Creative Archive is a BBC-led initiative to provide access to public service audio and video archives. The Creative Archive License allows for use and distribution of within the UK, subject to some rules.

Finding numbers
How much information is in a number? Google has a search by number feature which finds patent numbers and parcel tracking codes, amongst other things. How big does a number need to be before it is likely to be unique within the Google database? A Google Search for 'patent 6884995' finds only this patent in the USPTO database; a search for '6884995' finds about thirty hits, including telephone numbers and grant numbers.

The ACS has grown concerned about PubChem, because it appears that a new USA government service is competing with an established private-sector business. This complaint sounds extraordinary in the UK, where the government runs free schools and hospitals, for example, which compete directly with private-sector schools and hospitals, and questions of unfair competition are not raised, as the private-sector services provide greater convenience and more features to justify their cost. The Chemical Abstracts Service provides far more data, in a more convenient way, and with many more features, than PubChem. However, PubScience was discontinued for similar reasons, and even the weather is under threat.

Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development
Synthetic Protocols is a database of solid phase, solution phase and library synthesis procedures, developed at Boston University's Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development.

Safe exchange of chemical information
Is it possible to share chemical information without giving away commercial secrets. Professor Tudor Oprea believes so, and has arranged for a challenge to test this. If it is possible to hide chemical information this way, does this imply that the chemical descriptors used are inadequate?

European Libraries counter Google
Nineteen European national libraries have decided to cooperate, lead by the Franch national library, to put European literature on-line, and provide competition for Google's project.

© 2005 J M Goodman, Cambridge
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