This project started in January 1994, and was first announced during the Chemistry workshop at the First WWW International Conference, held at CERN in May 1994.
The intention of the project was to establish a set of standard file "headers" that would unambiguously identify "chemical
content" in Internet-based transactions such as electronic mail, and more recently the World-Wide Web. The latter in
particular allows chemical content to be integrated into document delivery using the Hyperlink concept, a concept around
which this very CD-ROM product is built. We originally identified a small number of relatively standard file types
containing chemical information, which together with the addition of a chemical MIME header, would enable the content to
be sensibly processed by the recipient of the information. Essentially, this was an addition to the MIME standard which had
been proposed and ratified via a body called the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) in 1993. Since chemical MIME
was envisaged as primarily an Internet Standard, we initially approached the IETF with our proposal, via a discussion
document called an Internet Draft. The first version of this was published during May-October 1994, and a second revised
version during April-September 1995. These two proposals resulted widespread adopted throughout the community.
Currently, the focus is on acting via the IUPAC organisation for chemical standards. A "home" page is located at
where the second Internet draft, up to date information, guidelines for standards and other background information is available. A discussion list is archived under
http://www.ch.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/chemime/ Users can subscribe by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the content
subscribe chemime your name
The remainder of this article will focus on various sources of information and pointers to working examples of chemical MIME. One specific illustration of a small molecule database will be included here.
The following list of chemical MIME types forms the main body of the IETF Internet draft valid during the period May - October 1995.
|Type||File extension||Description and Formal Description||Originator|
|chemical/x-mdl-tgf||tgf||Transportable Graphics Format||MDL Information systems|
|chemical/x-csml||csml||Chemical Structure Markup Language||P. Murray-Rust, R. Sayle, H. S. Rzepa and B. J. Whitaker, J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans 2, 1995, 7.|
|chemical/x-vmd||vmd||VMD - Visual Molecular Dynamics||Andrew Dalke, see http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/vmd/|
|chemical/x-cml||cml||Chemical Markup Language||Developers version 0.7|
The following url fragments represent Alta Vista (http://www.altavista.digital.com/) searches using the Advanced Query feature after the keyword "link:" (e.g. link:www.ch.ic.ac.uk). It can report an estimate or actual count of the number of pages pointing to a particular link. This search was performed on July 23, 1996.
|URL Used for Alta Vista Search||Number of other documents with a Hyperlink to this page||Comment on page|
|"www.ch.ic.ac.uk/chemical_mime.html"||550||One of the twooriginal project pages used to illustrat the use of chemical MIME-types.|
|"chem.leeds.ac.uk/Project/MIME.html"||400||The second MIME project page|
|"www.ch.ic.ac.uk/chemime2.html"||250||The original IETF Chemical MIME-types standards document|
|"www.prosci.uci.edu"||2000||The Electronic Journal Protein Science|
This list (and others in this document) point to internet based documents. To access them, you will have to have an active Internet connection on your computer.
The purpose of this working example is simply to show how chemical MIME can serve to integrate chemical content within a Hypertext document. We do NOT address issues such as "hyperglossary" construction, indexing, database maintenance and user contributions, and integration of e.g. analytical data and so forth. All these themes are the subject of current activity, both in our laboratories, and elsewhere. If you are interested, see the chemical MIME home page for current information.
© H. S. Rzepa, W. Locke, P. Murray-Rust, B. J. Whitaker. 1996.