ORGANIC CHEMISTRY: New to Scifinder?

Before Scifinder

A research article published in a journal follows a specific format. Check out an article in JACS. The format does change a bit depending on the journal, but generally it includes:

  1. Header (title of the article; author(s), author affliation(s); author keywords; subject terms)
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Results and Discussion
  5. Methods
  6. Associated Content (supplemental material; coressponding author; references)

Before Scifinder was available Chemical Abstracts was used by researchers to search manually (yes, it was in print) for information. The information could be searched by using the Chemical Substance, Author, Formula, General Subject, and/or Patent indexes. Today, with the advances in technology the electronic journal article has been broken down into its components and each component searched individually for information. Improved search algorithms and chemical informatics has enabled searching by structures, substructures, properties, reactions, etc. Scifinder can also be searched for suppliers, legislation, and safety. The content of Medline, the database developed by the National Library of Medicine is also included in Scifinder.



This is a a self-paced overview from 2013 of the different types of searches. It introduces the many features to allow you to analyze and refine searches, access the references and how to obtain information related to an article, how to save references and searches, Sciplanner, the different databases included in SciFinder, and navigating Scifinder. This is a good review of the entire system and should be reviewed before learning the specifics of any one feature.

Overview 2

SCIPLANNER  This feature is relatively new. When you click this tab it will open up into a new window. Results of searches can easily be transferred to Sciplanner, allowing for visually combining and organizing relevant search results. You can develop your synthesis projects within Sciplanner and export them if needed. Check out the overview of Sciplanner.

PREFERENCES  You can change a few features to suit your needs. Change your password, account information, and/or email address. If you want duplicate publications automatically removed, you indicate that here. The default opening page is for exploring references. If you prefer exploring substances or reactions then you can indicate it here.

SCIFINDER HELP This help feature includes many tutorials about the different features in Scifinder, in addition to the traditional search for a  term for quick assistance. It is a great resource.

6 YOUR ACCOUNT You can see that Scifinder recognizes me by my name and not my logon.

7 REFERENCES  The EXPLORE tab leads to searching by References, Substances or Reactions. You can explore references (published journal articles, patents, conference proceedings, etc.) by selecting Research Topic, Author Name, Company Name, Document Identifier, Journal, Patent or Tags. The change from blue lettering to black lets you know the type of search being performed. Scifinder DOES NOT use Boolean logic (i.e. AND, OR, NOT) when you search by Research Topic. It uses natual language searching. Just enter a phrase with concepts separated by prepositions and other normal parts of speech. The search can also be refined by opening Advanced Search. For additional information on Exploring References see the tab of this Subject Guide labeled Scifinder.

SUBSTANCES In this search you explore by substances, which will then lead to the references. Searches of Chemical Structure and Markush involve drawing the structure or substructure of the chemical compound of interest. The Chemical Structure search can be refined by opening Advanced Search. Markush refers to the generic chemical structures found in patents. To learn more about searching patents by Markush structures and Chemical Structures see the tab of this Subject Guide labeled Scifinder.

If you are looking for a specific substance, you can type in the Molecular Formula. Scifinder will then list references having your specific subatance  - match the exact atom symbols and atom counts you are seeking.

Another way for searching for substances is by Substance Identifier. These include the name of the substance (common names, trade names, or acronyms are acceptable) or CAS Registry Number. CAS refers to Chemical Abstract Service, which publishes Scifinder. CAS has been assigning Registry Numbers to substances for over 100 years. The numbers are assigned in sequential order to unique, new substances identified by CAS scientists for inclusion in the CAS Registry database. The format for the Registry Number is nnnnnnn-nn-n (two or more digits, a dash, two digits, a dash, and a single digit).

If you have information about the experimental or predicted physical property values of a substance, you can search for information using Property. For additional information on Property searching see the tab of this Subject Guide labeled Scifinder.

REACTIONS In this search you can explore by Reaction Structure. Again, this involves drawing the structures involved in the reaction. The Reaction Structure search can be refined by opening Advanced Search. For additional information on Reaction Structure searching see the tab of this Subject Guide labeled Scifinder.


Register for Scifinder

You can find Scifinder on the Library's website under Article Databases Select the subject Chemistry and scroll down.

Coverage: 1907 - Present  Users Scifinder is licensed for use only by U of U faculty, students and staff conducting scholarly research. It is not to be used for commercial research.

REGISTRATION The first step is to register for a user account to use this database. Click here to register. There are three requirements for registering:
  1. Register while logged onto a University of Utah computer.
  2. Use your university email account (not gmail).
  3. Do not use the password associated with uoir UNID. Create a new one.
After submitting all the information requested, you will recieve an email. To finalize the registration process you must respond to the email.After responding you will be able to use any computer to access Scifinder and be anywhere in the world.

Overview 1

1 EXPLORE  This tab leads to the types of searches you can perform in Scifinder, Reference, Substance and Reactions.

SAVED SEARCHES You registered to use Scifinder so you have an account. This provides you with space to save search strategies, saved answer sets and your work in Sciplanner. The arrow leads to my saved answer sets. If you are collecting publications, it saves time to save them here, remove duplicates and those publications you decide you do not want before adding them to Endnote Basic. Endnote is a personal bibliographic software package and is free to use for the University of Utah community. For assistance with Endnote see the subject guide.

The saved searches can be modified. They can also be set up as "Keep Me Posted", which means as new publications matching your search are loaded into Scifinder you will be notified either weekly or monthly by email.

The searches and anything else you do while in Scifinder is recorded in the session history. You can view, print, or export the session history for the current session, or you can export the history from a previous session.


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