The Big Spiders Guide to Vibrational Spectroscopy on the Web

 The Big Spiders Guide to Vibrational Spectroscopy on the Web

Gary Ellis

Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Polímeros, C.S.I.C., Madrid, SPAIN. E-M

I remember that I was but a wee nipper when my Great Uncle Jim, whilst watching the waves crashing down on a lonely beach on the north-east coast of England, told me the secrets of the surf and how to count the galloping white horses. At around the same time, hoardes of bermuda-beshorted individuals humming catchy tunes obliged us to join their revolution, and my concept of surf changed. Now the internet generation has given us a more accessible definition of surfing – this time it’s something that even Pat Hendra can do in his sitting room without getting his socks wet or sand in his ears! All one needs is a suitably connected PC, a rudimentary knowledge of Windows, a mouse, and an empty diary for the next few weeks. “Cybersurfing”, “websurfing”, “netsurfing”… or whichever buzzword you use, is eye-opening and informative fun, but it must undoubtably be filed into the “dangerous terminal activities” folder for its propensity to contradict our notions of time and space. It’s staple diet is your precious time!

Daily newspapers, “Hello”, your favorite football team, tourism, Spinal Tap, the CIA, train-spotting, Oasis, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, garlic lovers, The Goon Show, Bugs Bunny, MTV, they’re all in there… even Margaret Thatcher and Antonio Banderas have “Home Pages” (not linked as far as I know). Maybe this isn’t quite what you’re looking for!

Finding a “site” which satisfies your requirements is worth celebrating. It takes basic cybersurfing abilities, some dedication, and trips down more than several blind alleys before one can come up with anything justifiably useful. This said, it must be recognized that the WWW can and does provide some very interesting sources of reference, links to research centres with similar interests, commercial information, educational resources, etc., albeit mixed in with an enormous amount of completely irrelevant cyberjunk.

What about vibrational spectroscopy?…….Well, it’s on the web too, and growing fast!

Vibrational Spectroscopy, Web Style.

The next few pages include a shortlist of web sites from my bookmarks which may be of interest, discovered whilst “surfing the web”. The information is by no means complete, and is intended as a preliminary survey. If I missed yours… sorry! Access to all sites listed here is, as it should be, free of charge.

Disclaimer: No responsibility can be taken by IJVS for the links, which may vary, and whose content is totally independant of both IJVS and the Publisher.


By the way, if anyone knows of any interesting vibrational spectroscopy links not included here, send me an e-mail


Academic Sites.

A number of research groups working in vibrational spectroscopy have generated “home pages”, whose intention is, on the whole, peer-informing…. just letting us know that they’re out there! Such sites tend to provide general information about research activities, their instrumentation, and links to other sites which bear some relation. Most sites are still in the developmental stage, and some promise to be interesting.

I am eager to see the Virtual Raman Spectrometer which is listed as a feature in the contents of the WWW Raman Server at the Universiy of Graz, Austria, still “under construction” after many months. Other examples of academic sites are:

The University of Newcastle includes a Spectroscopy Group Mailing List and discussion forum within the Mailbase project. Typical messages appearing on the bulletin board range from practical spectroscopic problems and conference/seminar announcements to job offers and recent PhD’s looking for jobs. Although not limited to vibrational spectroscopy, it may be a useful contact point.


Educational and Bibliographic Resources.

A growing buzz-word on the web is “hypermedia”. Educational hypermedia is becoming a reality, and already vibrational spectroscopy is appearing on the virtual teachers blackboard. An Analytical Spectroscopy Webcourse can be found under the Science Hypermedia Project, originally based at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, USA

The Wilson group at the University of California, San Diego, USA include a highly visual spectroscopy tutorial in the Physical Chemistry section of their comprehensive chemistry education resource. Some tips on the interpretation of IR spectra are provided by the California State University at Stanislaw, USA. A number of interactive tutorial exercises in spectroscopy, can be found at the Department of Chemistry of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

As far as reference spectra are concerned, the Arnold Engineering Development Centre in Tenessee, USA holds a comprehensive collection of IR spectra of hazardous air pollutants in the GRAMS (*.spc) file format, and David Sullivan from the University of Texas at Austin offers some IR spectra from his research in a variety of formats, including JCAMP-DX.


Societies, Journals and Conferences.

The Society of Applied Spectroscopy has a well-developed and informative site based at the Arizona State University, USA. It includes comprehensive information on the society, contents and abstracts from the society’s journal, Applied Spectroscopy, a spectroscopic events calendar, a monthly newsletter, and subscription details, etc.The Coblentz Society can also be found.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has a very well-established and comprehensive WWW site, and provides the contents, abstracts and feature articles from many of the societies publications, such as “Chemistry in Britain” and “Analysis Europa”.

Elsevier Science have a page for downloading program and data files submitted to Spectrochimica Acta Electronica, integrated in Spectrochimica Acta Part B. The company also provides a very useful free e-mail alerting service, providing contents listings, Spectrochimica Acta Part-A included.

The only on-line vibrational spectroscopy journal is, of course, the Int. J. Vib. Spectrosc.

Currently, the following information on vibrational spectroscopy-related conferences can be found on the web:


Commercial Sites.

The instrument and accessory manufacturers have started to appear on the web, providing product information, commercial contact points, corporate information, a page for requesting technical information or application notes, and some links to other useful sites.

To date, I have found the following companies on-line:

These sites seem to be in constant development, as might be expected. Nicolet, Bruker and PE probably have the most advanced services at this stage, with many photos of equipment, etc. The interactive applications note request pages really do work. I tried Nicolet, and a smiling representative appeared after about two weeks with a briefcase-full of literature!

Some laser and optical components specialists can also be located on the web:

The Interlab site provides source data on analytical spectrometry and has a number of links to vibrational spectroscopy sites, including journals and software.

Want to buy or sell second-hand spectroscopic equipment? The Internet Market Place for Physicists may provide an interesting market stall.


Searching for Information.

There are a variety of methods for searching for information on the WWW, generally known as “Search Engines”. These are free to use, and normally simply require you to introduce a word or phrase, and hit the search button. One of the most useful is search.com, which includes many alternative solutions for Web-searching. Netscape’s own Net Search also includes a large variety of alternative search routes. To find information about a specific topic, the web tip is “be specific”. If you are looking for an IR spectral database and you just use a global word, like “spectra” you shouldn’t be surprised if a search engine comes up with more than 70,000 documents for you to browse! Normally you are presented with a fairly irrelevant haystack of spurious information or cyberjunk. However, most search engines provide advanced search options, which allow you to place restrictions on date, site locations, and to search for strings and phrases, or threaded searches, so that you can dig out that obstinate needle. I think you may be surprised when you find out just how many vibrational spectroscopists there are on-line!

Good luck and….

Happy Spectrosc-urfing!

REF: Int. J. Vib. Spect., [www.irdg.org/ijvs] 1, 2, 2 (1996)