The Merck Index 14th Edition

Latest version of the essential reference book includes searchable CD, and a new upgrade offers extensive structure search capabilities

With more than one million copies sold, The Merck Index has been the primary reference source for generations of professionals looking for precise, comprehensive information on chemicals, drugs and biologicals. The latest 14th Edition of this essential reference work for chemists, biochemists, pharmacists and related professionals, includes with the book, for the first time, a text-searchable CD-ROM, which contains all the data in the book and more. The CD contains ChemFinder, the industry-leading scientific search engine from CambridgeSoft Corporation (Cambridge, Massachusetts) that allows data to be searched by keywords, references and numerical properties.

The Merck Index is a one-volume encyclopaedia of chemicals, drugs and biologicals that contains more than 10,000 monographs, 32 supplemental tables, 450 Organic Name Reactions and more. This 14th Edition has been extensively revised to ensure its accuracy and enhance its readability with many new features as well as thousands of new references, trademarks and uses, plus an expanded – and timely – focus on “Green Chemistry” and compounds of environmental significance. In addition to revisions and updating, enhancements include embedding the Chemical Abstracts Registry Numbers for title and derivative compounds within the monographs.

CambridgeSoft, provider of previous electronic editions of The Merck Index, has made available The Merck Index 14th Edition/Chemists, an upgrade that provides the unique, powerful capability to search the CD to find molecules by fragment, sub-structures or full structures, on the basis of either exact matching or similarity. Structure searching is precise and convenient and includes tautomeric full and sub-structure searching. You can search for structures containing isotopic labels, or tetrahedral stereocenters, or other characteristics.

The Merck Index 14th Edition/Chemists, which is supplied by Adept Scientific (Letchworth, Herts.), provides the ability to search for alternative groups, either in atom labels such as “(OH,H,CONH2,Me)” or drawn using the R-Group features of ChemDraw (CambridgeSoft’s renowned structure drawing software, also available from Adept Scientific). Link nodes are supported, so you can search for variable-length rings and chains such as “(-CH2)6-8-” or multi-connected variables (“-R-“). You can now search for any type of single atom (“A, Q, X, M”) or any group (“R”).

Also included is an Personal Internet Edition subscription that provides immediate access to the data on the CD as well as updates. Together, the CD and the Internet Edition contain all the contents of the printed 14th edition plus nearly 1,000 monographs archived from previous editions.

All CambridgeSoft products, including the latest versions of ChemDraw, ChemOffice, Chem3D, BioDraw, BioOffice, BioAssay and E-Notebook as well as The Merck Index, are available from Adept Scientific.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

E-Notebook helps an environmental chemist

by Warren Hicks

Warren Hicks, BSc (Hons), is an Environmental Chemist with the CSIRO in Australia. The CSIRO is Australia’s largest scientific research organisation with over 6,000 staff conducting scientific and industrial research in diverse fields such as radio astronomy, the environment, industrial processes and medical research.

“My work as an environmental chemist is far away from the work of synthetic and pharmaceutical chemists, their laboratories or pilot plants. My ‘lab bench’ has trees, blue sky, rivers and the ocean. On the down side, crocodiles chew up my buoys, cattle trample my installations, mosquitoes and other biting insects chew on me, but then nothing’s ever perfect! I usually work with a multidisciplinary team of soil scientists, microbiologists and hydrologists. Our group’s interest is applied research to understand the biophysical processes that lead to land and water degradation. The environmental degradation we study is the result of past inappropriate land management practices, rather than contamination by industry. We use our knowledge to produce tools for better decision making and to develop cost effective remediation techniques. My part is to investigate the geochemistry, so I do lots of field sampling and measurement. Once the data is in, I try to make sense of the temporal and spatial changes in geochemistry. My lab notebook is full of mineral dissolution equations, stability constants and manipulations to interpret and present the data for publication. I make extensive use of geochemical modelling programs, trying to match predictions to the behaviour of field data and the mineralogy of precipitates.”

“I think chemists have always been at the leading edge in taking up computers to assist them in their work. I read about ChemOffice with interest. And while the full suite of applications in ChemOffice is not applicable to the sort of chemistry I do, the functionality of E-Notebook caught my attention. It looked like a possible alternative to my paper lab notebook and useful to round up the scatter of data files on my computer hard drive. I also liked the idea of getting my field notebook into an electronic format, and doing so as quickly as possible after the work is complete.”

“Our work is organised into small project teams that are issue-based rather than discipline-based. I’m the only chemist in a group of about six scientists and for the moment I’m the only user. With E-Notebook, it was easy to create notebooks and pages to hold and organise my notes, field data and analytical lab results. E-Notebook looks like a good replacement for my lab book and a great place to put the notes from my field work. Everything is in one place, so that if I’m out of the office and want to do some writing up, I don’t have to worry about bringing along all my field books.”

CambridgeSoft laboratory software solutions are supplied and supported in the UK by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

E-Notebook: a tempting value proposition

Scientists need to work smarter to manage the ever-increasing amount of work and literature that crosses their desks. Perhaps even more importantly, time savings for an individual or small group may be compounded when applied to a team, department or corporate environment.

Electronic notebooks offer the power to create, save and search organisational data, enhance scientists’ productivity and streamline daily record keeping, both of which provide the foundation for team solutions. The electronic notebook format makes it easy to manage diverse types of data, such as chemical structure drawings, spectra, notes and spreadsheets. Collaboration among scientists is easier with electronic notebooks because multiple people in different geographic locations can access notebooks and pages, which can be stored in one centralised database. Also, since the electronic notebook database is fully searchable by chemical structure, keywords, text and properties, scientists can find the information they need quickly, and as a result, make better decisions more quickly.

Electronic Notebooks offer a tempting value proposition, with many opportunities to be cost effective, in addition to their knowledge management capabilities. Much of this cost effectiveness has been documented by CENSA (Collaborative Electronic Notebook Systems Association). Part of the cost effectiveness is achieved by performing existing tasks more efficiently. Another part results from using new capabilities that did not exist prior to the use of electronic notebooks.

For an individual scientist, it has been estimated that electronic notebooks facilitate existing tasks such as, avoiding repetitive entry in notebooks, importing data into notebooks, developing an index for notebooks in progress as well as those completed, simplifying report, paper and patent application generation, and referring to earlier notebooks for reference information. Estimates show that these functions will save more than ten hours per month.

From a corporate perspective, it is estimated that existing tasks such as collaborative problem solving, new employee training, new project team member training, accessing former employee data, and patent and regulatory requests will produce similar time savings. Although this savings is less quantifiable, it is still significant.

Using electronic notebooks in new ways may present even larger savings. In a specific example, the need to prepare new graphics for project and team meetings can now be eliminated; Electronic notebooks allow simple access to legible notebook entries for presentation and discussion at meetings, and can be used directly at these meetings. Thus, weekly or monthly meetings, all of which required preparation time in the past, now require less “down-time” for scientists.

In an industrial setting in the USA, assuming the annual costs of a fully loaded scientist are 150,000 dollars, it has been estimated that approximately 250,000 dollars annually could be saved for a twenty person department. While it is more difficult to assess the financial savings of an electronic notebook system for the academic community, the power to allow students and their advisers to share and communicate data quickly and effectively to guide research planning is substantial.

The premier driving force to use an electronic notebook is the tremendous power it brings to research and discovery knowledge management. Savings in time (and money) are an immediate benefit to organisations, but the real benefits arise after several months of scientists creating a unique proprietary database of information that can be centrally stored, searched and shared.

CambridgeSoft laboratory software solutions are supplied and supported in the UK by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

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