Chemical Informatics Letters

Volume 11, Issue 5; November 2005

Editor: Jonathan M Goodman

Are there enough names?
This year's hurricane names have reached the end of the alphabet and have started again, using Greek letters. Observations of Mars from the Mars rovers are discovering do many new features that naming is becoming confusing. IP numbers are still only 32 bits and this does not seem to be a problem, for the moment. Too many passwords, however, is security issue.

Google Book Search
Google's plan to scan books and make their contents available (in small sections) has been attacked by authors and the Authors Guild is suing. A reply from Google defends the program. At the same time Yahoo and Microsoft are starting to compete, with a hundred thousand books from the British Library to be put online. Google has restarted scanning books, after a brief break.

Are we cleverer because of technology?
The ability to search the chemical literature online means it is possible to find more information more quickly than in the past. However, these resources introduce new possibilities for making mistakes as well as making new discoveries.

Rejecting Nobel-Prize-worthy Papers
This article investigates discoveries that have later won Nobel Prizes, which were initially ignored by the scientific community or rejected by prestigious journals.

CNS (Crystallography and NMR system), developed by Professor Axel Brunger is a successor to X-Plor. A newsgroup to discuss both programs is available.

Chmoogle is a database of several million chemical structures, mainly from PubChem and various chemical suppliers. It can be searched by exact molecules or by substructure using SMILES strings or by JME sketch. Small substructures may return a large number of hits, which are not ordered by estimated priority. The database is run by the "eMolecules Team" who announced on the day of their launch (18th November 2005) that chmoogle is "the world's leading open-access chemistry search engine." The data to support this launch-day statement does not appear to be available.

ChemDB is a database of small molecules, run by Professor Pierre Baldi at the School of Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. A recent article published in Bioinformatics ("ChemDB: a public database of small molecules and related chemoinformatics resources." Bioinformatics 2005, 21, 4133-4139. DOI:10.1093/bioinformatics/bti683) describes the database.

Academic access to the CSD in the USA
From the beginning of 2006, the Cambridge Structural Database will be distributed to academic organisations, as a result of the National Center for Research Resources decision to cut its support for CSD access.

Wikipedia accuracy
How good is the information in Wikipedia? Its quality has been questioned and the rules on submission have been tightened. A study suggests that its accuracy compares will with established encyclopedias.

Many databases of Material Safety Data Sheets are available on-line, and some of these are free. Most have disclaimers about the limited liability of the data providers should the information turn out to be inaccurate.

USA retains control of the internet
After some debate the USA will retain control of the internet, a decision welcomed by ICANN.

Chemical Safety
REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) is new legislation which is being developed by the European Union. Acompromise which leaves most people unsatisfied, but which allows the process to continue, has been reached.

© 2005 J M Goodman, Cambridge
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