Chemistry Collection - Collections

The collection is maintained by the Chemistry Library.

The chemistry collection supports research in the chemical sciences campus-wide and most specifically the instructional and research programs of the School of Chemical Sciences. The scope of the collection includes chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemistry and areas of biotechnology. The collection is broad and interdisciplinary, with overlap occurring in nearly every science departmental library on campus. Strengths include a broad, international journal collection in print and electronic formats and access (including remote access) to SciFinder Scholar, Beilstein, Web of Science, and a multitude of interdisciplinary electronic resources. The collection of approximately 150,000 volumes is located in the Chemistry Library, in Bookstacks, and in the Oak Street Remote Storage facility.

Version Date: April, 2005


I. Collection Description


To support the instructional and research programs of the School of Chemical Sciences, which is divided into four departments: Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering and General Chemistry. The Department of Chemistry is further subdivided into the following sections: analytical, biophysical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry plus chemical physics. Each year, the School graduates more BA, MA, and Ph.D students than any other chemistry program in the country. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field, the Library serves faculty and students from other units on campus, especially Agriculture, Biology, Engineering, Geology, Home Economics, Physics, and the Institute for Environmental Studies.

History of Collection:

The Chemistry Library was the first departmental library on campus. It was established during the 1891/92 academic year, when the chemistry faculty carried the works most often needed for reference from the old main library to the balance room of the Chemistry Laboratory. The chemists found that sprinting from the laboratory to the library in University Hall to check a reference gave time for almost any reaction to spoil. In addition, the library closed at 5 p.m. and the chemists often worked all night in the laboratory. In 1903, the Chemistry Library moved to the new building (Noyes Laboratory). It occupied several locations in Noyes until it was moved to room 257 in 1919. Since that time, the library has taken over additional space on either side of room 257 and the floor directly below.

Estimate of Holdings:

150,000 volumes in Chemistry Library and Bookstacks only.

State, Regional and National Importance:

The Library has always served off-campus industries, agencies and individuals from all over the country and is among the five leading chemistry collections in academic libraries in the country. Strengths are in foreign journals, and long and complete journal runs.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Chemistry Library.

Location of Materials:

60,000 volumes in the Chemistry Library and 90,000 volumes in the Bookstacks. There is also chemical literature in the Agriculture, Biology, Engineering, Geology, Home Economics, Physics, and Veterinary Medicine Libraries.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Sparks, Marion E., “The Chemistry Library,” Illinois Chemist 1 (June 1915): 13-15.

_____________ “The Chemistry Library,” Illinois Chemist 2 (Jan. 1916): 13-16.

_____________ Chemical Literature and Its Use. 2nd ed. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1921.

______________ “The Chemistry Library Its History and Use,” Illinois Chemist 6 (June 1922): 115-117.

Culp, V. S., “Report of the Committee on Chemistry Libraries” Journal of Chemical Education 11 (1934): 114-123.

Downs, R. B., “Leading American Science Library Collections,” Library Quarterly 12 (1942): 457-73.

Mellon, M. G. and Ruth T. Powers,” Using the Chemical Literature” Industrial Science and Engineering 2 (Feb. 1955): 10-16.

Ash, Lee, “A partial list of some biochemistry and organic chemistry library collections” in Biochemistry Collections, edited by Bernard S. Schlessinger. New York: Haworth Press, 1982.

Smith, Jill S., “Vignettes of some major biochemistry collections” in Biochemistry Collections, edited by Bernard S. Schlessinger. New York: Haworth Press, 1982.

II. General Collection Guidelines


Standard statement.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restrictions. Special interest in the history of chemistry.

Geographical Guidelines:

No restrictions.

Treatment of Subject:

Standard statement with the exception that elementary textbooks and popular works are occasionally purchased to support the curriculum of the School. The primary focus of the collection is on developmental and theoretical aspects of chemistry, and less emphasis is placed on clinical and practical applications.

Types of Materials:

Standard statement with the exception that microform supplements to journals are an important part of the collection.

Date of Publication:

Standard statement.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments

Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

Chemistry Collection
BIOCHEMISTRY 3 Chemistry Biology
BIOPHYSICAL CHEMISTRY 2 Chemistry Biology/Physics
BIOTECHNOLOGY 1 Chemistry Biology
CHEMICAL DOCUMENTATION 2 Chemistry Library Science
CHEMICAL EDUCATION 2 Chemistry Education
CHEMICAL ENGINEERING 4 Engineering Chemistry
Development aspects 2 Chemistry Biology
Applied aspects 2 Agriculture Engineering
Development of chemistry as science, Social, political, and biographical aspects
2 Chemistry
INDUSTRIAL CHEMISTRY 3 Engineering Chemistry
MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY 2 Veterinary Medicine Chemistry
NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY 3 Physics Chemistry
Developmental aspects Clinical applications
3 Chemistry / Veterinary Medicine
POLYMER CHEMISTRY 2 Engineering Chemistry


Version Date: November 2005