Harvard Chemistry Thesis Database will Launch in Fall 2000
Harvard Chemistry Thesis Database Launches
by Theresa Kavanaugh, Director, Harvard Chemistry and Chemical Biology Laboratory (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Harvard Chemistry and Chemical Biology Library (CCB) has been granted
$25,000 from the Dreyfus foundation via its Special Grant in the Chemical
Sciences for development of an academic chemical research database,
tentatively called the Harvard Chemistry Thesis Database.
This database will be an electronic repository of dissertation information from
the CCB department. The CCB Library will require electronic submission of theses
abstracts, including chemical structures, numerics and biological sequences, in
addition to the already required archival print thesis. These thesis abstracts
would then be searchable by chemical structure (a pictorial representation of a
molecule), formula, and function as well as common bibliographic pointers such
as author, keyword, thesis advisor, etc.
One of the Harvard Chemistry Thesis Database's key features will be the ability
to draw in a partial or complete structure and search the database for theses
which deal with the partial or exact representation. The information in the database would include computational and modeling data and visualization not viewable in print (e.g. three-dimensional structures). Points of access would include links to the online catalogue at Harvard and links to other public databases and information sources such as the Protein Data Bank.
Some retrospective digital conversion of information will be done, focusing on recent years (~1990) and onward, including structural representation. Search engine design and construction will be the focus of the first year, with the goal of having the database up and running in this time frame, with current dissertations.
The Harvard Chemistry Thesis Database claims several unique advantages over other large dissertation abstract products. Others, such as Dissertation Abstracts from UMI, completely disregard chemical structures , biological sequences and numerical data and as such severely restrict usage by scientists, limiting the potential for this information to facilitate scientific discourse, both intra- discipline and inter- discipline. Other large electronic dissertation projects, such as the Electronic Theses and Dissertations project at University of Virginia and a smaller project at MIT, focus on electronic submission, and not on novel access points to information such as structure searching. We do not anticipate including full-text digital access at this stage ; rather, access to key points of information otherwise unobtainable, and therefore currently unsearchable.
The Harvard Chemistry Thesis Database will be Web-based, and any advanced features will conform with open integration standards. Successfully choosing the database and search tools, and integrating them with the standards of the chemical community, and with the standards in place at Harvard, will be a major challenge.
One of the goals of the Harvard Chemistry Thesis Database is to facilitate interaction between graduate students in different research groups. Accordingly, this type of digital library could change the way information is shared among scientists within the institution. At the same time, non- Harvard use might be considerable.
We plan on actively encouraging participation of other scientific research departments at Harvard as well as other research institutions, and hope to eventually include them in this database. Along these lines, we could include them together with the Harvard data, or provide outside institutions with a template to initiate their own databases. Further information as the project progresses, can be found at http://www-chem.harvard.edu/thesis.html.
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences offers support to eligible institutions for innovative projects. The Special Grant program intended to advance the science of chemistry. Past areas of support include development of curricular and instructional materials, including new media; institutional enhancement of education and research and public understanding of the role of chemistry in society.
Summary by 李晓霞 on 2000-03-22
Last updated by 李晓霞 on 2000-03-24