Since it was released by the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) in 1995, the chemistry and biochemistry information resource commonly known as ‘SciFinder’ has been the single most versatile and sophisticated tool available for finding, discovering and exploring information on chemical substances (more on the history of CAS and SciFinder here). You can access SciFinder from several places, including the Library website’s A-Z Databases link, and from the Chemistry & Biochemistry Research Guide.
To appreciate what SciFinder can offer, it’s worth taking a quick look beneath the ‘hood.’ There you will find several different searchable databases working together, most notably including SciFinder’s ‘Registry,’ whose growing population of defined chemical substances is about to reach 150 million (a little over a decade ago, there were “only” 50 million). Other SciFinder database components provide information on chemical reactions, patents, polymers, physical and chemical properties (including spectra), commercial sources, and of course an expanding universe of articles and other scholarly reports and documents (>50 million at the last count).
This almost unbelievable amount of interconnected chemical information is all made accessible through a single SciFinder search platform—which offers a variety of discovery and exploration tools and search modes to choose from. For instance, your searches may begin by first drawing or editing the exact or generic structure of one or more molecules, including those involved in a chemical reaction. Alternatively, you might search according a chemical’s role in a reaction, or its particular properties, chemical formula, or its appearance in journal articles, reports or patents.
In step with SciFinder’s rapid growth in size and complexity are the increasing expectations of its users for a quick and intuitive search experience and instantaneous results. Any DePaul chemist from ten or more years ago will remember having to sign up for a session on an earlier client-server-based version ‘SciFinder Scholar’ using one of two dedicated workstations located in a special ‘Database Room’—mostly hidden behind the Library’s research help desk and kept under lock & key when not in use!
So, you may ask, what additional ‘leap’ can we now look forward to in this new SciFinder-n version? Well, first of all, in case you hadn’t noticed, you already have access! The optional SciFinder-n version is linked from the “classic” version whenever you log in to SciFinder through the Library website (screenshot below):
After many years of development and testing by CAS, the new SciFinder-n version incorporates many enhancements, simplifications, new features, and a more intuitive search and navigation experience, without losing any of the capabilities and content of the earlier version.
By the start of the autumn quarter, 2021, SciFinder-n will become the only option available to DePaul users.
We are confident that those already familiar with SciFinder will have little difficulty adapting to the new version’s layout, tools and functionality. However, depending on your familiarity and experience, there may be some need for adjustment. So in order to help facilitate a smooth transition, the providers of SciFinder-n (CAS) will be hosting a live, interactive and recorded demonstration of SciFinder-n as follows:
Thursday, June 17, 2:00 (Central Time) CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A LINK!
Meanwhile, a range of ‘on-demand’ SciFinder-n training resources can be found here.
And as always, please don’t hesitate to Ask a Librarian, or contact me, Chris Parker, directly, if you have any questions.