Periodic Table Databases

Roger Gladwin


Periodic Table databases are increasingly becoming the universal chemistry software products. There are versions for all the major computer platforms, including those which run over the World Wide Web. Some come on floppy disks, others contain so much information that a CDROM is required whilst others can display video sequences using associated video disks. Some are stand-alone programs in their own right whereas others are tools to be called when appropriate from other software. Some are simply catalogues of data for viewing as necessary and others attempt to teach users about the periodic table, its structure, its history etc. At least one includes a 'mentor' who acts as guide to a student who is seeking to answer a question set by a teacher. Such problems may be, "suppose the world supply of copper was catastrophically reduced due to a war, suggest another element which might be used to produce electrical wire". The student could ask the 'mentor' for help - the response may be to suggest looking at the property ductility to find elements similar to copper. Similarly the student could be directed to look at electrical conductivity, earth abundance etc. until a suitable alternative is found. All have one thing in common, they attempt to show the properties of the chemical elements in an ordered fashion.

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