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Chemistry LibreTexts

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Page ID
  • [ "article:topic-guide" ]

    What is the STEMWiki Hyperlibrary project?

    The UCD STEMWiki Hyperlibrary project is a multi-institutional collaborative venture to develop the next generation of open-access textbooks to improve STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at all levels of higher learning. The central aim of the DTP is to develop and disseminate free, virtual, customizable textbooks that will substitute for current, commercial paper texts in multiple courses at post-secondary institutions across the nation. This is accomplished via the construction of several pseudo-independently operating and interconnected “STEMWikis” that concentrate on specific STEM topics. The ChemWiki ( is the pilot STEMWiki developed to demonstrate efficacy of the DTP approach.

    What is the ChemWiki?

    The UCD ChemWiki was created and is currently directed by Prof. Delmar Larsen and is housed in the Larsen Lab at the UC Davis Chemistry Department. This project is a new approach toward chemistry education where a textbook environment is constantly being written and re-written partly by students and partly by faculty members resulting in a free Chemistry textbook to supplant conventional  paper-based books. Anyone can view, although an account is required to edit the site modules. The ChemWiki is designed to maintain all Modules (pages of chemistry information) in the primary sections in the Core; the Wikitexts contain only class organization that is custom designed and developed for individual instructors, classes or schools. See the Development page for more details.

    What is the SARIS?

    The Student Ability Rating and Inquiry System (SARIS) is a unique application that will enable the ChemWiki to present each student with reference material and review questions that are tailored to that particular student’s course and skill level. The SARIS will eventually generate the required statistics to allow the chemistry department to evaluate student learning outcomes at the course and major level and once fully implemented with a feedback mechanism will allow for student specific outcome based assessments of courses or programs. The SARIS is still under construction.

    What is the "Talk Page"?

    A module's "Talk Page" is the behind the scenes construction page outlining reviews and comments by contributors in order to aid in the development of that specific module. Only users with account have access to a specific Module's Talk Page. When contributing to the Talk Page please make a note not to repeat past comments and recommendations.

    How do I make my own module?

    • Browse to the page that you want to edit
    • Click “edit page” directly under the tool bar at the top
    • Start writing!
    • When you are done click “save”. This will save your page and bring you out of editing mode. To continue editing click “edit page” again.
    • Note that there is no auto save function, so save your work frequently.  
    • Go here for general advice on writing pages in the Deki Engine (the software used for this ChemWiki)

    How do I use the editor?

    The Dekiwiki engine we are using for the ChemWiki is built with a FCK editor that allows for module construction without having to build/edit the raw source (HTML) code directly. It has been configured for most of the needs contributors require. The layout is below; please refrain from using the advanced features in red until you are familiar with the Dekiwiki structure.

    Editor Layout.png

    Can I use my own editor and cut & past the results?

    In principle yes. You are encouraged to compose your module in a text-only word processor (e.g., Notepad), or process your content through a text-only processor (via cutting and pasting). Then review your text for errors, then cut and paste the final version into the appropriate text box  on the module. Some formatting characters used in programs like Word (angled quotes, accents, special characters) will not display properly. Save your edits, review your final text, and make any edits necessary to correct the format.

    How do I format the module?

    Each module is unique in its optimal approach. The below guidelines will help in construction and the current model format can be viewed here.

    • Use the formatting tools on the top of the page (editing mode only)
    • Super and sub scripts (see buttons on edit bar)


    • Start by writing an introduction that puts your topic in a greater picture
    • Add hyperlinks to other ChemWiki modules
    • Save intermediate versions of your module.
    • Use proper formatting (e.g. Zn2+ instead of Zn2+)
    • Check spelling and grammar
    • Include examples from the “real world”
    • Make figures. A picture says more than a thousand words!
    • Comment on other people modules. Critical comments will be considered for your extra credit.
    • Be creative!

    Do Not

    • Copy text or pictures from anywhere unless confirmed public domain! Note: Many wikipedia images are not in the public domain! DO NOT use GNU general public licensed material.  
    • Personalize the formatting of your module excessive use of colors, font sizes, etc or by changing the font type.
    • Insert hyperlinks every time you use a particular word (use common sense to decide if it is useful)
    • Write exclusively in the form of bulleted lists. You are writing a text book, not lecture notes.

    How do I add pictures?

    Three steps to add non-copyrighted (e.g. public domain, creative commons, own photos, or figures made from scratch) images or pictures:

    1. "Save" or "export" the figures into jpg, png, gif or some other graphics file depending on the program you are using to make the image.
    2. Then "attach" the file using the lower right hand button on the page or under the "more" button.
    3. Then "edit" the page with the edit button and "link" the file to your page with "insert/edit image" button (looks like a mountain with a sun).

    Additional factors to pay attention to regarding figures:

    1. NO BMP figures. They do not print well with the wiki. Use PNG, JPG, GIF figures instead.
    2. Please CROP your figures to remove superflous white space that makes reading your module awkward. The Microsoft Office Picture Editor will crop images and is free on MS operating systems.
    3. ALL figures constructed for this project must have the original non-image files used uploaded to the chemwiki, preferable in the module itself.


    How do I add equations?

    The alternative (and preferred) approach MathJax instead. MathJax and the system we use on the ChemWiki are very similar. Below are some details to help out.

    I modified the page I was working on to use it (it works closer to LaxTex):

    Details about it: This link link) is an online WYSIWYG LaTeX editor that creates math expressions using templates. The LaTeX is automatically written and a preview is displayed. Just copy the code and paste it. Be sure to enclose the LaTeX in dollar signs ($).

    Examples to learn from:

    How do I add hyperlinks?

    • Mark the word you want to be the hyperlink, then click the hyperlink button (L) with the "chain link" icon
    • If you want to link to an outside page place the address in the “link to” box and click “update link”
    • If you want to link to an internal ChemWiki module you can use the “browse” option to find the page. You can also use the search function to look for key words (make sure you check that the page is a relevant link though).