Welcome to the ACS CHED CCCE (American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Education Committee on Computers in Chemical Education) Online ConfChem conferences.  Please note, this site is still under development (2008-2012 ConfChems and 2012-2013 Newsletters are still at our old site) http://www.ccce.divched.org/ConfChem/conference/all.

In addition to running Online Confchem Conferences and a Newsletter, the CCCE hosts symposium and workshops at national and international conferences, and organizes OLCC (Intercollegiate Online Chemistry Courses).

Join us for the online 

2016 Fall ConfChem Conference
Select Presentations from CCCE Sponsored Symposia During the 2016 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education
(Oct 30 - Nov 22, 2016)


Cheminformatics OLCC

What is ConfChem?

ConfChem is probably the oldest ongoing online conference in the chemical sciences, with the first ConfChem conference occurring in 1993, before the advent of the HTML-enabled World Wide Web.  In the first ConfChem (called ChemConf), papers were distributed over the nascent internet and discussed on a list serve. The conference papers and images were obtained over ftp or gopher servers, the papers were posted as ASCII text files and the images required a separate image viewer. For many of the participants this was their first introduction to email. 

(comment from survey at the end of first ConfChem)

The 1996 ConfChem was the first to use html and included instructions on the use of NetScape Navigator. From 1996 to 2010 ConfChem papers were hosted on a variety of servers, with many, in the spirit of the World Wide Web, being hosted on the author's own site. Many of these papers were experiencing "link-rot" and in 2010 the CCCE started an initiative to consolidate ConfChem papers and host them on a Web 2.0 site using the Drupal content management system.  This also allowed us to change the format of the discussions, where participants would no longer send comments to the list, but post comments directly to the Web 2.0 comment feature of the paper, and that in turn would trigger an email to the list. In addition to allowing us to post comments to the ConfChem papers, the Web 2.0 system allowed us to generate taxonomies to organize and display the conferences papers. Now, in 2014 the CCCE is adding a new feature to the papers, the ability to tag the papers with an open taxonomy, and generate a folksonomy, a taxonomy of the "Folks".

The Corpus

The CCCE corpus also includes CCCE Newsletter articles and will also include material from OLCCs (OnLine College Courses).  The Newsletter actually predates ConfChem, with editions from ca 1978 to 2000 haven been printed and delivered to subscribers via postal service. An ongoing effort is being made to identify and find old printed newsletters, and digitize them through Optical Character Recognition software. To date we have uploaded 24 old editions dating from 1984 to 2000.  Since 2000 the CCCE Newsletter has been run like a ConfChem conference.  The difference between the current CCCE Newsletter and a ConfChem is that in a ConfChem a conference organizer chooses papers related to the topic of the ConfChem, which may or may not be related to the use of computers in chemical education.  The Newsletter is run by an editor, who seeks papers related to the contemporary use of computers in chemical education, and so unlike a Confchem, there is no theme or topic to the Newsletter, but the papers of the Newsletter must deal with the use of computers in chemical education. 

Since 1996 the CCCE has also run 5 OLCCs (OnLine College Courses), and these follow the ConfChem model of an online conference, but use that to provide remote classroom instruction to students in multiple institutions. The essential difference is that instead of an author presenting a paper that is discussed over the list with faculty, a lecturer posts a paper and discusses it with students (and their faculty) over the list. The CCCE is currently developing an OLCC in Cheminformatics on this site and much of the lecture material presented in the OLCC will also be preserved in the CCCE corpus. One interesting aspect of the OLCC, is that we plan to generate two different open tag taxonomies, one by the online lecturers and facilitators, and the other by the students. The former will connect OLCC material to ConfChem and Newsletter articles, while the later will be confined to the OLCC curriculum and enable discovery of student generated knowledge pathways across the course. To date there are over 400 articles posted on this site. None of the post 2010 have yet been transferred and they can be accessed on the CCCE's current site.

The Folksonomic Index

The Folksonomic Index is an application of the social-semantic web concept of a folksonomy to enable the creation of dynamic and evolving knowledge pathways across papers of discrete and potentially disparate work within the corpus.  The folksonomy is essentially a taxonomy connecting digital objects of the corpus that is based on the lexicon of the tagging community.  Although all the resources of this site are open to the public, we want this taxonomy to reflect the lexicon of the chemical education community and so are restricting tagging to members of the Confchem community. In order to post a comment to a Confchem paper a registered user must login, and now, in addition to being able to post a comment, conference participants can tag papers with keywords that they feel describe the content of the paper. Likewise, if someone is reading an older paper, they can tag that archived paper, even if there is no ongoing discussion.

Knowledge Pathways: The Lexicon and Tag Filtration

A lexicon represents the vocabulary or jargon associated with a branch of knowledge and tags generated by the ConfChem community represent their association of the content of an article with the lexicon of the chemical education community. The reason we are not allowing anyone to generate tags is that we need these words to reflect the lexicon of the chemical education community and not other communities, and keep out words that define the community. Words like "flipped" and "green" could have different meaning to other communities, and tags like "education"  or "chemistry" help define the community, but would be of little value for generating knowledge pathways within the corpus of the community.

By enabling retroactive tagging we anticipate reaching a critical mass of tags that will enable a semantic framework based on this human generated taxonomy that will enable users to connect articles across multiple ConfChems, Newsletters and OLCCs.  Instructions for use of the Folksonomic Query Utility can be found on the Folksonomy homepage, noting that this utility can be embedded into any page on the site, and is currently accessible on any of the article sorting pages.

Also, the jargon of a lexicon evolves as the community evolves and the association of tags with content items can provide an indication of the collective knowledge state and contemporary interests of the community.  Although we are allowing retroactive tagging of archived papers, which is essential for the generation of new knowledge pathways, this system will not represent the lexicon of the community when those papers were posted and discussed, or reflect the evolution of the lexicon.

Please note, this site is under active development, many of the old Newsletters have been scanned with OCR and we have not had time to proof them, please contact Bob Belford  (rebelford@ualr.edu) if you see any errors or wish to assist us.