Posts Tagged ‘XML’

Curating a nine year old journal FAIR data table.

Monday, May 29th, 2017

As the Internet and its Web-components age, so early pages start to decay as technology moves on. A few posts ago, I talked about the maintenance of a relatively simple page first hosted some 21 years ago. In my notes on the curation, I wrote the phrase “Less successful was the attempt to include buttons which could be used to annotate the structures with highlights. These buttons no longer work and will have to be entirely replaced in the future at some stage.” Well, that time has now come, for a rather more crucial page associated with a journal article published more recently in 2009.[1]



  1. H.S. Rzepa, "Wormholes in chemical space connecting torus knot and torus link π-electron density topologies", Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, vol. 11, pp. 1340, 2009.

Conference report: an example of collaborative open science (reaction IRCs).

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

It is a sign of the times that one travels to a conference well-connected. By which I mean email is on a constant drip-feed, with venue organisers ensuring each delegate receives their WiFi password even before their room key. So whilst I was at a conference espousing the benefits of open science, a nice example of open collaboration was initiated as a result of a received email.


A nice example of open data (in London).

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

Living in London, travelling using public transport is often the best way to get around. Before setting out on a journey one checks the status of the network. Doing so today I came across this page: our open data from Transport for London. 


Revisiting (and maintaining) a twenty year old web page. Mauveine: The First Industrial Organic Fine-Chemical.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Almost exactly 20 years ago, I started what can be regarded as the precursor to this blog. As part of a celebration of this anniversary, I revisited the page to see whether any of it had withstood the test of time. Here I recount what I discovered.


Research data: Managing spectroscopy-NMR.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

At the ACS conference, I have attended many talks these last four days, but one made some “connections” which intrigued me. I tell its story (or a part of it) here.


One molecule, one identifier: Viewing molecular files from a digital repository using metadata standards.

Monday, September 8th, 2014

In the beginning (taken here as prior to ~1980) libraries held five-year printed consolidated indices of molecules, organised by formula or name (Chemical abstracts). This could occupy about 2m of shelf space for each five years. And an equivalent set of printed volumes from the Beilstein collection. Those of us who needed to track down information about molecules prior to ~1980 spent many an afternoon (or indeed a whole day) in the libraries thumbing through these weighty volumes. Fast forward to the present, when (closed) commercial databases such as SciFinder, Reaxys and CCDC offer information online for around 100 million molecules (CAS indicates it has 89,506,154 today for example). These have been joined by many open databases (e.g. PubChem). All these sources of molecular information have their own way of accessing individual entries, and the wonderful program Jmol (nowadays JSmol) has several of these custom interfaces programmed in. Here I describe some work we have recently done[1] on how one might generalise access to an individual molecule held in what is now called a digital data repository.



  1. M.J. Harvey, N.J. Mason, and H.S. Rzepa, "Digital Data Repositories in Chemistry and Their Integration with Journals and Electronic Notebooks", Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, vol. 54, pp. 2627-2635, 2014.

Chemistry data round-tripping. Has there been ANY progress?

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

This is one of those topics that seems to crop up every three years or so. Since then, new versions of operating systems, new versions of programs, mobile devices and perhaps some progress? 


Computers 1967-2011: a personal perspective. Part 2. 1985-1989.

Friday, July 8th, 2011

As a personal retrospective of my use of computers (in chemistry), the Macintosh plays a subtle role. (more…)

(re)Use of data from chemical journals.

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

If you visit this blog you will see a scientific discourse in action. One of the commentators there notes how they would like to access some data made available in a journal article via the (still quite rare) format of an interactive table, but they are not familiar with how to handle that kind of data (file). The topic in question deals with various kinds of (chemical) data, including crystallographic information, computational modelling, and spectroscopic parameters. It could potentially deal with much more. It is indeed difficult for any one chemist to be familiar with how data is handled in such diverse areas. So I thought I would put up a short tutorial/illustration in this post of how one might go about extracting and re-using data from this one particular source.


Data-round-tripping: wherein the future?

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Moving (chemical) data around in a manner which allows its (automated) use in whichever context it finds itself must be a holy grail for all scientists and chemists. I posted earlier on the fragile nature of molecular diagrams making the journey between the editing program used to create them (say ChemDraw) and the Word processor used to place them into a context (say Microsoft office), via an intermediate storage area known as the clipboard. The round trip between the Macintosh (OS X) versions of these programs had been broken a little while, but it is now fixed! A small victory. This blog reports what happened when such a Mac-created Word document is sent to someone using Microsoft Windows as an OS (or vice versa).