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CHEM 151H (Arquero) SP24

Chemistry Databases

Recommended Databases

How to Start

Presearch your Topic

  1. Is there chemical evidence of the Carlsbad desalination plant affecting nearby seawater?
  2. Is there chemical evidence of the Carlsbad desalination plant affecting nearby seawater?
  3. Brainstorm additional keywords & search terms:

chemical evidence: testing, water sampling, particles, chlorine, copper, mass-spectrometry, 

Carlsbad desalination plant: industrial waste, desalination brine, ecological impact, biological impact, California Coastal Commission, regulations, long-term impact, Agua Hedionda Lagoon, Pacific Ocean

seawater: runoff, brackish, sea life, organisms, fish, food chain contamination, salinity, beach, shore, swimmers

Database Search Tips

  • Background information can help: "The six most abundant ions of seawater are chloride (Cl−), sodium (Na+), sulfate (SO24−), magnesium (Mg2+), calcium (Ca2+), and potassium (K+). Inorganic carbon, bromide, boron, strontium, and fluoride constitute the other major dissolved substances of seawater." Britannica
  • List of terms that may be useful to search: salinity, ions, seawater, chloride, sodium, sulfate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, "inorganic carbon", bromide, boron, strontium, fluoride, "bicarbonate ions", "carbonate ions", "hydrogen ions"
  • Use quotation marks: When using quotation marks the exact phrase is searched. "inorganic carbon"
  • Use AND to link terms in the database. For example: choride AND sodium combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms.
  • Use OR to find either term; this is especially useful with synonyms. For example: magnesium OR calcium combines terms so that results contain either term.

Request Articles/Books


The ACS style is a set of standards for writing documents relating to chemistry, including a standard method of citation in academic publications, developed by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

What is a Primary Source?

In the Science discipline, Primary Sources include (but are not limited to):

  • Research studies or scientific experiments
  • Papers and proceedings from scientific conferences or meetings
  • Dissertations and Theses
  • Technical Reports
  • Patents


Most articles in scientific databases will be both scholarly and primary resources. But, secondary sources source do exist. They include:

  • Publications about the significance of research or experiments
  • Review of the results of several experiments or trials
  • Analysis of a clinical trial
  • Letters to the editor, editorials, perspectives