Chemistry International
Vol. 21, No.5, September 1999

1999, Vol. 21
No. 5 (September)
.. President's Report
.. News from IUPAC
.. Highlights from the Web
.. New Projects
.. Provisional Recommendations
.. New Books and Publications
.. Awards and Prizes
.. Conference Announcements
.. Conferences

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Chemistry International
Vol. 21, No. 5
September 1999

 

Highlights from the Web

 

This article was contributed by Webmaster Dr. Glenn Carver (Glenn.Carver@atm.ch.cam.ac.uk), Chairman Prof. J. Alistair Kerr (A.KERR@bham.ac.uk), and Subcommittee Member Dr. R. A. Cox (rac26@cam.ac.uk) on behalf of the IUPAC Subcommittee on Gas Kinetic Data Evaluation for Atmospheric Chemistry (of the Commission on Chemical Kinetics, I.4).

A Web Site for the IUPAC Subcommittee on Gas Kinetic Data Evaluation for Atmospheric Chemistry

The World Wide Web (WWW) has become an almost indispensable tool for scientists in recent years. The emergence of new technologies, particularly those that are platform-independent, and the provision of web front-ends to powerful databases have added to the importance of the web as an information medium. Until recently, the IUPAC Subcommittee of Gas Kinetic Data Evaluation for Atmospheric Chemistry (of the Commission on Chemical Kinetics, I.4) has relied on the more traditional method of publishing their reviews in the prestigious Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data (JPCRD), and this medium has served the community well.

Over the past 22 years, the Subcommittee has published seven major evaluations in JPCRD, with a further update "in press" at the moment. These evaluations consist of data sheets containing kinetic and photochemical information on the elementary reactions that occur in the earth's atmosphere. At present, the complete database contains over 800 such reactions, which form the basis of the chemical mechanisms used by atmospheric modelers in predicting, for instance, the effects of releasing anthropogenic chemicals into the atmosphere.

In relation to traditional methods of disseminating such information to the scientific community, the web offers several key advantages, such as greatly improved availability and distribution coupled with a much reduced time to make the evaluations available. The acceptance of the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) as a de facto standard for publishing documents on the web has also been an important development.

It is for these reasons that the Subcommittee has developed a web site, which it hopes will become a valuable resource for the atmospheric chemistry community. With so much current interest in tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry, it is important to make new evaluations available as rapidly as possible—a key objective in setting up the new web site. The web site went online in February 1999 and has attracted significant interest from all over the world, particularly from Europe, the United States, and Canada. At present, a single PDF document containing an amalgamation of the more recent summary tables published in JPCRD is available, but the Subcommittee plans to use the web site as its primary means of disseminating future evaluations to the user community and also, eventually, to make the data sheets of individual reactions available. For the near future, this availability will continue to be in the form of PDF documents; however, it is hoped ultimately to provide a database with search facilities that would provide hyperlinked kinetic data in HTML format, not unlike the NIST Webbook database.

The web site has been established at the Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Cambridge, England, UK at http://www.iupac-kinetic.ch.cam.ac.uk/. It also allows visitors to subscribe to a mailing list that has been provided to allow the Subcommittee to notify interested users when the web site is updated with new information or additional data. At the time of writing, this mailing list has 100 subscribers. We invite readers to visit the web site and comment on its usefulness and on future developments.

Dr. Glenn Carver
Prof. J. Alistair Kerr

Dr. R. A. Cox

 

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