Science Featured Resources

Illinois flood information from USGS and NOAA

flooded river and bridge

Record floods in Illinois rivers recorded in April 2013

Courtesy of Emily Wild, USGS librarian and scientist:

USGS near real-time data, Illinois

USGS Illinois Flood information, 1995-2011

USGS news release: USGS Measures Record Flooding in Illinois 

USGS Flood information, National, or select state of interest, e.g. Illinois 

USGS Historical streamflow search, National

USGS Animation of streamflow maps, National

USGS Water Resources office for Illinois USGS Illinois 

These two web sites show the same data: USGS and NOAA.  When it comes to forecasting the river data, NOAA takes over the data interpretation.

Be safe out there if you are near a high river with Flood Safety Information.

Tools for DOIs

What the heck does “DOI: 10.1021/ic00183a004” mean and why should you care?  The DOI (or digital object identifier) is a unique character string that identifies a digital object.  This object can be an article, a report, a book chapter, an image, a dataset or any other single package of online information.  Most commonly you will encounter journal article DOIs in reference lists or endnotes.  While the DOI characters don’t generally have a human readable meaning, there are web based tools to link the DOI to the actual full text article. 

If you have a DOI and you want to find the object itself (this is also called “resolving the DOI”), the easiest thing to do is to point your browser to and copy and paste in the DOI.

After clicking “Go” you will be taken to the publisher’s web page for the article:

Henry C. Kelly, Sritana C. Yasui, and Andrea B. Twiss-Brooks  “Hypochlorite chlorination of tertiary amine-boranes,” Inorganic Chemistry 1984 23 (15), 2220-2223

Or, if you have an article citation and need to find the DOI (many journals now request or require a DOI in article manuscript submissions in the list of references) you can use the CrossRef Simple Text Query Form.  You must register an email address with CrossRef to use this form. 

To use this tool, go to and type (or copy and paste) your reference, enter your registered email address and submit.  The tool works best if you have the reference formatted in a standard style (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.).  For example, if you copy and paste the same text citation —

Henry C. Kelly, Sritana C. Yasui, and Andrea B. Twiss-Brooks “Hypochlorite chlorination of tertiary amine-boranes,” Inorganic Chemistry 1984 23 (15), 2220-2223

–into the tool, you will retrieve the DOI link for the article:  


Biographical resources on Nicolaus Copernicus

Portrait of Copernicus

Image from Popular Science Monthly Volume 39
This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

Today marks the 540th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543).   Copernicus (in Polish Mikolaj Kopernik) was a Polish Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a comprehensive heliocentric model which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center of the universe.

Interested readers can learn more about Copernicus by using a variety of biographical and research tools available from the Library.  (Some resources are limited to UChicago users).  Just a few of these are shown below:

Books about Copernicus in the Library

Online biographical resources from Uni-Bonn’s history of astronomy site

Search for articles on Copernicus in ArticlesPlus, including this fascinating account found as full text in the JSTOR collection:

“Genetic Identification of Putative Remains of the Famous Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.” Wiesław Bogdanowicz, Marie Allen, Wojciech Branicki, Maria Lembring, Marta Gajewska, Tomasz Kupiec and Alan Walker. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Vol. 106, No. 30 (Jul. 28, 2009), pp. 12279-12282 Stable URL:

“Copernicus, Nicholas.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Vol. 3. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 401-411. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.

For a YouTube video showing Google’s homage to Copernican observation and theory embodied as a Google “doodle”:


Download a Free Copy of Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine

In honor of the 175th anniversary of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), NLM released the book Hidden Treasure:NLM_cover_final_s The National Library of Medicine, which showcases the world’s largest medical library and its beautiful collection. This is a historical collection that can be used by scholars studying not just the history of medicine, but also art, anatomy, culture, women’s studies, African American studies, and the military. The National Library of Medicine allows the book to be freely downloaded from their site so that all can experience the rich history.

Landsat 8 to launch Feb. 11

Landsat based imagery of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina

Landsat based imagery of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina

Landsat satellite based earth imagery data and visualization is ubiquitous, and provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief. NASA is continuing the nearly forty-year old program with the launch of Landsat 8 on February 11, 2013.  As  a joint initiative between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA, the Landsat Project and the data it collects support government, commercial, industrial, civilian, military, and educational communities throughout the United States and worldwide.

Print and electronic resources related to Landsat program, technology, and uses of the data are available from the Library by searching Lens for “Landsat.”

The following links provide detailed information on the Landsat program including press releases, program history, live views of launch preparations, datasets for download and more:

NASA Prepares for Launch of Next Earth Observation Satellite

USGS-NASA Landsat Program:

Landsat aims to maintain gold standard – [BBC World Service’s Science In Action programme]

USGS Views in the News:

USGS EROS Image Gallery:

Additional information, data downloads: Earth Explorer:

Additional information, data downloads: Glovis:


Focus on hydraulic fracturing

Shale gas map

Shale Gas preview from the National Oil and Gas Assessment (NOGA) interactive map.

The United State Geological Survey (USGS) has recently launched a new website focused on hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”).  This technology for extracting petroleum and natural gas from source rocks has raised environmental concerns globally. 

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program site includes data from various research projects on hydraulic fracturing underway at various offices of the agency.

The web site also includes a multimedia gallery (imagery, Congressional briefings, public lectures, …) which could be useful for class presentations or papers.

LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury

LiverTox is a comprehensive database that provides practical information on the diagnosis, cause, frequency, patterns, and management of liver injury attributable to prescription and nonprescription medications. It includes information about the affects of herbals and dietary supplements on the liver.  It contains a case registry system to track liver toxicity cases. It was designed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDKK).

Finding out about the flu

Map of flu occurrences in USIt is turning out to be a particularly active flu season.  The Library and the internet have a multitude of information resources related to the influenza virus, both current and historical.  Here are just a few examples:

FluView (Centers for Disease Control) – This weekly surveillance report accumulates data from a variety of reporting centers from across the country.

Flu (MedlinePlus) — MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine provides reliable information on a variety of subjects (including influenza) geared toward the layperson.

Clinical reference tools subscribed by the Library:

You can also search for books in the library catalog on the history of influenza, including:

America’s forgotten pandemic [electronic resource] : the influenza of 1918 by Alfred W. Crosby.

If you would like to find out more about locating resources on the flu, or on any other medical topic, contact the Library using Ask a Librarian.

Resources for scientific and technical writing and presentations

Researchers in science need to communicate their work to colleagues, the press, and others.  In order to aid scientific authors, the Library has a guide to resources for writing scientific articles and papers, creating good poster presentations, and communicating science to the public.  Citation and Writing Resources provides suggested resources, both online and in print that offer sound advice on best practices in scientific communication.

Exhibit catalog for “Transcending Tradition” is available

Transcending Traditions catalogA catalog has been published by Springer Verlag for the exhibition “Transcending Tradition: Jewish Mathematicians in German-Speaking Academic Culture” currently on view at the John Crerar Library. 

University of Chicago faculty, students and staff can access the catalog as an e-book on the SpringerLink platform .  Print copies are available for purchase at the University of Chicago Bookstore (970 East 58th Street, Chicago) and from other retail booksellers.

The exhibition has been extended to run until January 15, 2013.  For more information on the exhibition, including hours and associated events, visit