Techniques, technologies, cultures, and infrastructures of information management played a central role in the development of the modern chemical sciences and the global chemicals industry since the late 19th century. Chemical databases and analytical techniques that privileged abstract, small-molecule notions of molecular structure have been taken up throughout the chemical sciences and in adjacent fields such as computing and information science, toxicology, environmental monitoring, and environmental regulation. Understanding this history can help shed light on the challenges of present-day nanomaterials characterization, regulation, and informatics—and perhaps the opportunities for bringing nanomaterials characterization principles back into the realm of small molecules.
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National Cancer Institute