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Please use our new Research Guides at

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This guide provides links to resources available at the Waidner-Spahr Library and on the World Wide Web to support the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology program at Dickinson College. Some resources are restricted to people currently affiliated with Dickinson. Because Biochemistry research can cross over several academic disciplines (including Biology, Chemistry and Health Studies) students are encouraged to consult with a librarian for help with specific topics.

Liaison Librarian: Nick Lonergan, 717-245-1838.


Research Help

The Library of Congress Classification System, which is the call number system utilized for locating and organizing library resources, breaks Biology down into primarily these areas:

  • Q is General Science
  • QH is Natural History - Biology
  • QD is Chemistry

Look at the Library of Congress Classification System Outline for more information.

Related Research Guides

More Research Help

Background information

Often you will need to get some background information on your topic in order to get a general sense of the history of the subject, and an overview of what research has been done up to this point.


Sometimes books can be the best place to get detailed, but not overly technical, background on a topic. Due to the long time that it takes to write, edit and publish books, they are not the best source for learning about the most recent research but books, or book chapters, can provide an excellent springboard from which to be able to comprehend the significance of new findings.

Subject headings

Here are some Library of Congress subject headings that are relevant to biochemistry (if you click the links then you can see the titles we have indexed on these headings in our collection):

Suggested Titles

Where these books are located

While most titles in our collection are located in the main library, some titles of interest may be located in one of two additional locations, so make sure to check the location of a book in the catalog before trying to locate it on the shelf.

Here is information on the other possible locations for Biochemistry titles:

  • Tome Reading Room: The Tome reading room is located on the second floor of Tome, and contains books and recent print journals in Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science and Mathematics. It is open to students, staff and faculty at all times.
  • Biology Reading Room: The biology reading room in Dana is a space for consulting current biology journals and a limited number of biology reference titles. Its hours of operation are: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students taking Biology courses can have their student IDs programmed to allow them access to the reading room at times other than those posted.

Requesting books from other libraries

If we do not have any books with relevant content in our collection, you may wish to use some of the above search heading in WorldCat which serves as a consolidated catalog across the collections of libraries across the world. If you find an interesting title that we do not own then you can see if it is available for loan through PALCI/E-Z Borrow. There is no charge for books ordered through this service and they typically arrive within 3-4 days of your initial request.

You can also use PALCI/E-Z Borrow to request books that we do own but that are currently checked out by another patron.


  • Virtual Library on Genetics
    Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research. This resource can be browsed by topic or organism, and it also contains a wealth of information on the Human Genome Project.
  • Genetics Home Reference
    Provided by the National Library of Medicine. Focuses on providing consumer-friendly information about the effects of genetic variations on human health.
  • The NCBI Structure Group
    Focuses on four main topics: Macromolecular structures, Conserved domains and protein classification, Small molecules and their biological activity and Biological Systems.

Locating basic chemical information

Here is a selection of resources that contain basic chemical information:

Print resources

Online resources

  • ChemIDplus: From the National Library of Medicine. Databases and other resources designed to help you search for information by chemical name or structure.
  • NIST Chemistry WebBook: Provides access to chemical and physical property data for chemical species. The data provided in the site are from collections maintained by the NIST Standard Reference Data Program and outside contributors.
  • PubChem: Provides information on the biological activities of small molecules.
  • Chem Spider: A chemical structure database that can be searched by name or structure.

Locating articles

Basic process for finding articles

If you find an article that looks interesting check to see if there is a link to the pdf or HTMl version of the article by the citation. If not, then click the "Get It!" button to see if we have access to it either electronically or in print.

If you cannot see either a direct link to the article or the "Get It!" button then search the Journal Locator for the title of the journal that it was published in. If you find the journal title here check to see if we have access to the year in which the journal article was published, and then follow the relevant link.

Requesting articles we do not own

If we have neither print nor electronic access to an article in our collection, then you can place an order for it through ILLIAD.

You will have to set up account the first time you order an article but once you have done this once you can use this same account each time you want an article.

Once you have an account set up then you can just click the "ILLIAD" link in the "Get it!" button and log into your account and the request form will be automatically populated with the citation information for your desired article so you only need to submit the request.

(If you do not have a journal citation, but instead have a topic, use one of our databases to locate citations).

Why use journals?

• Journals are often peer-reviewed/scholarly. This means the research in the articles have been double-checked for validity.

Primary research often appears in journal articles. Primary research is the first article or report on a topic whereas secondary research are the articles or reports that talk about that primary article. Always look back to the primary article when using secondary sources as support.

• Journals can contain the most recent information on a topic. In the sciences this can be very important.

Biochemistry journals in our collection

We have access to many journal titles pertaining to Biochemistry.

Here are some examples of such journals in our collection:


Depending on your topic, you may want to search through databases containing content on Biology, Chemistry, or Medicine. Here are a couple of databases that you might find useful:

  • PubMed
    PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine, includes over 15 million citations for biomedical articles back to the 1950's.

As this database stores so many citations, often it is useful to search using MESH (Medical Subject Headings) headings. If you use the pull down menu, MESH is one of the search options. Once you have entered a term, you can see what version of that term is used as the official indexing term, and you can limit your search by subheadings which can be extremely useful.

MESH does use the term "Biochemistry" but it also uses the following more specific terms:

     Carbohydrate Biochemistry
     Molecular Biology
  • Web of Science'
    Provides cited references to a vast array of social science and science materials. Also allows the user to see what papers have cited a particular article since it was published. Also try Web of Knowledge, which searches Web of Science, PubMed, and Biological Abstracts together.
  • SciFinder Scholar
    NOTE: Available to current Dickinson affiliates only. FIRST TIME USERS must register to search this database. Contact the Sciences Liaison Librarian for information on how to register. SciFinder is one of the most sophisticated science databases available, and the most comprehensive database available for chemical information. It allows the user to search by chemical structure, molecular formula, reaction structure, research topic or substance identified, and provides many options for limiting one's search.
  • Biological Abstracts
    Covers life sciences journal literature. The drop down menus provide some unusual options for limiting a search, including limiting by taxonomic classification and by concept codes. Click the magnifying class beside the menu to get more information on your chosen field. Coverage Range: 2001-present
  • ScienceDirect
    A collection of articles focusing on science, technology and medicine. It contains over abstracts for over 900 journals and books relating to Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology • Coverage Range: Varied some 1850 to present
NOTE: ScienceDirect identifies full-text articles with a green icon. To determine if Dickinson has access to non full-text articles, or to request an article via interlibrary loan, click on the article title and then expand the "Bibliographic Information" box in the right-hand column, then click on the "Get It!" link

Online Tools and Software

Locating sequence and mapping information

  • National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
    This site functions as a portal for a number of different databases/resources pertaining to biomedical and genomic information. While some of these databases focus on the scholarly literature (such as PubMed, mentioned above) many of them are instead tools to help you with tasks such as locating information on a particular DNA sequence or searching an organism's complete genome.
  • GenBank
    the NIH genetic sequence database containing all publicly available DNA sequences.
    A DNA sequence search and similarity tool that can be used to infer functional and evolutionary relationships between sequences.
  • T-Coffee
    A collection of tools for computing, evaluating and manipulating multiple alignments of DNA, RNA, protein sequences and structures.
  • ClustalW2
    General purpose multiple sequence alignment program for DNA or proteins.

Enzyme structure databases

  • Biomolecular Structure Center
    From the University of Washington School of Medicine. Produces software for studying and graphically rendering biomolecular structures.