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Peer Review


by Craig Merlic


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jul 22, 2001 by Chemistry Editorial Board
Overview: This site provides IR, (1)H-NMR, (13)C-NMR, DEPT and COSY spectra for a wide range of compounds that can be used to give students practice with determining the structure of organic compounds using these spectroscopic methods. The target audience is undergraduate organic chemistry students.
Type of Material: Drill and Practice

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site contains both problems and a set of introductory pages describing how to use infrared and NMR spectroscopies to determine the strucutres of organic molecules. The introductory pages are clearly written and helpful. There is a page that provides a table of charactersitic frequencies in the infrared spectrum for assigning IR peak to different types of bonds. It would be nice if the site also included similar pages for assigning peaks in the (1)H and (13)C NMR spectra. The problems consist of the (1)H and (13)C spectra for 75 compounds arranged in categories of increasing difficulty: Beginning, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Advanced. Some of the compounds contain additional IR, DEPT, and/or COSY spectra. There is a search tool that allows a visitor to search for representative compounds in this group that contain specific functional groups. There is also a tool for overlaying IR spectra from two compounds for the purpose of comparison. Each problem gives the molecular formula for the compound, the solvent used and links to display the available spectra. When the visitor is ready for an answer, there is a link that displays the structure and name of the compound.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The large set of problems that involve compounds presenting a wide range of levels of difficulty for solving.

The site has a simple but effective layout. The presentation of the spectra is nicely done: their quality is adequate for viewing on a monitor and they can be printed. It is easy to zoom in on peaks to observe their fine structure. The ability to view two IR spectra on the same plot for comparative purposes is also an nice feature.
Very few of the problems contain spectra in addtion to the (1)H and (13)C NMR spectra. It would be beneficial if more of the problems contained IR spectra. As was correctly pointed out in the introductory pages for the site, " single spectrum will entirely solve a problem". It would enhance the site to give visitors more opportunities experience this.
Concerns: The lack of IR spectra for a majority of the problems are a concern.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The online functionality of the spectra.
The layout of the spectra and the ease of zooming in on spectral features are excellent.

The user interface is simple but effective. The spectra are nicely presented; giving the user the ability to zoom in on spectral features. There is a table for making assignments in IR spectra; similar tables for the (1)H and (13)C NMR spectra would be a useful addition.
Concerns: Zooming only works on the abscissa axis; an ability to zoom in the ordinate direction would also be helpful.