Title: Truncating Molecules: Basic Techniques in Structure and Substructure Searching for Information Professionals
Date/Time: Wednesday, June 20 from 3-4:30 pm EST
Presenter: Judith Currano, University of Pennsylvania
Sponsored by: Chemistry Division, Special Libraries Association: http://chemistry.sla.org
Cost: Free of charge to both SLA members and non-members. Note: A recording of the webinar will be posted to the Chemistry Division’s website shortly after the event. The archived recording will be available free to all.
7/5/12 UPDATE: View slides and recording available at http://chemistry.sla.org/2012/recording-truncating-molecules-webinar/
Everyone is familiar with the old cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is definitely true in chemistry, where a small drawing, or structure, conveys a wealth of information about the composition, orientation, and probable behavior of a substance, and the ability to search for substances by their structures is critical in many areas of the science. However, searching by structure comes with some drawbacks. As with text searching, it is only possible for searchers to retrieve information about a substance if they represent its structure exactly the same way that the author or database did; yet, the way in which individual papers or resources may describe a substance’s structure can vary widely. In addition, chemists frequently need to locate protocols for making novel substances and substances that exist in nature but have never been synthesized. In cases like these, a search for the substance’s structure will retrieve no relevant results, but a search for structurally similar substances could yield just the method needed to succeed in the lab. This session will provide an overview of structure search techniques before focusing on some fundamental techniques of performing a substructure, or truncation, search to locate molecules that are similar to a substance of interest. A basic knowledge of chemical structure drawing conventions is assumed and will aid in participant understanding of the subject matter.
Judith Currano received a B.A. in Chemistry and English from the University of Rochester. She was awarded a Pfizer Summer Fellowship in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and did independent research under Robert K. Beckmann, Jr., where she had her first experience with structure searching. She found literature searching to be far more exciting and far less smelly than running reactions, so, after graduating with distinction, she went on to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue a M.S. in Library and Information Science. For the past thirteen years, Judith has been the head of the Chemistry Library at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches a graduate course in chemical information each spring, administers publication ethics training for new graduate students, and coordinates the Physical Science and Engineering Libraries’ workshop and seminar series. She herself teaches workshops on SciFinder, Reaxys, the Cambridge Structural Database, MEDLINE, INSPEC, the NCBI bioinformatics resources, and various reference management tools, as well as topic-specific workshops on substructure searching, finding physical properties, reaction searching, and researching employment opportunities.
Judith strongly believes that every chemist should have strong information skills and that every librarian is capable of answering basic chemistry reference questions. As a member of the SLA Chemistry Division, she has taught sections of the 2001 and 2002 presentations of Chemistry and Chemical Librarianship for the Non-Chemist; and she co-developed and team taught the past nine presentations of Chemistry for the Non-Chemist Librarian and Chemical Information Sources, Requests, and Reference. In 2011, she and Denise Callihan of PPG pioneered a new SLA continuing education course, Extreme Structure Searching, which will be repeated this July at the Chicago meeting. Judith is also active in the American Chemical Society Chemical Information Division and, as a member of their Education Committee, has team-taught two iterations of the short-course Teaching Chemical Information, at ACS National Meetings, and her Webinar, “Chemical Information for the Non-Practitioner,” can be viewed online for free. She is the author of three journal articles in the areas of chemical information, information education, and synthetic organic chemistry, and she has presented nine papers at ACS National Meetings, five of which dealt with topics related to substructure searching.