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Information Retrieval: SciFinder, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-71247-4
226 pages
November 2009
Information Retrieval: SciFinder, 2nd Edition (0470712473) cover image


SciFinder® is rapidly becoming a preferred means to access scientific information in industry and universities worldwide. It accesses databases which span the chemical, engineering, life, medical, and physical sciences, including five Chemical Abstract Service databases and the National Library of Medicine bibliographic database Medline®. No other single information access tool has such breadth of coverage for scientific journal and patent documents.

Information Retrieval: SciFinder®, 2nd Edition is an essential guide explaining how to get the best out of SciFinder. It discusses the 50+ options in SciFinder® including topic, bibliographic, and chemical substance explore options, and post-processing options Analyze, Refine, and Categorize. The book:

  • Summarises the databases and explains how to take advantage of the unique search and analysis options
  • Explains selected algorithms behind the operation of SciFinder® and why it helps to understand them
  • Discusses why it is important, and how to apply scientific method to information retrieval
  • Describes how to search for chemical structures and chemical reactions

This second edition of Information Retrieval: SciFinder® has been fully revised and updated to incorporate the latest functionality and content of SciFinder®. Written by a scientist for scientists,  this book will increase your research creativity and productivity and is an essential resource for anyone needing scientific information in academia or industry.

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Table of Contents


1 SciFinder®: Setting the Scene.

1.1 “I just want to Do a Quick and Simple search on…”

1.2 The SciFinder Way.

1.3 Looking Ahead.

2 Databases in SciFinder.

2.1 CAS Bibliographic Database (CAPLUS).

2.2 NLM Bibliographic Database (MEDLINE).

2.3 CAS Substance Database (REGISTRY).

2.4 CAS Chemical Reaction Database (CASREACT®).

2.5 CAS Chemical Catalog Database (CHEMCATS®).

2.6 CAS Regulatory Information Database (CHEMLIST®).

2.7 Summary of Key Points.

3 Explore by Research Topic.

3.1 Introduction.   

3.2 How SciFinder Converts the Query to a List of Candidates.

3.3 How is a Concept Derived?

3.4 Choosing Candidates.

3.5 Working from the Reference Screen.

3.6 Working from the Record Screen.

3.7 Applying Scientific Method to Information Retrieval.

3.8 Summary of Key Points.

4 Explore by Chemical Substance.

4.1 Introduction.

4.2 Registration of Substances.

4.3 Searching for Substances: The Alternatives.

4.4 Explore Substances: Chemical Structure.

4.5 Explore Substances: Substance Identifier.

4.6 Explore Substances: Molecular Formula.

4.7 Explore References: Research Topic.

4.8 Summary of Key Points.

5 Substructure and Similarity Searching.

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 Searching Structures: Substructure.

5.3 Searching Structures: Working from the Initial Substance Answer Set.

5.4 Similarity Search.

5.5 Further Examples of Show Precision Analysis.

5.6 Additional Structure Query Options.

5.7 Getting References.

5.8 Combining Explore Substances and Explore References.

5.9 Summary of Key Points.

6 Additional Search and Display Options.

6.1 Introduction.

6.2 Explore: Author Name.

6.3 Explore: Company Name.

6.4 Explore: Document Identifier.

6.5 Explore: Journal and Explore: Patent.

6.6 Getting Information from Bibliographic Records.

6.7 Further Issues with Finding Information on Substances.

6.8 Opportunities for MEDLINE Searchers.

6.9 Searching for Substances in the Biological Sciences.

6.10 Searching for Information on Polymers.

6.11 Summary of Key Points.

7 Searching for Information on Chemical Reactions.

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 Specific Search Options in CASREACT.

7.3 Reaction Search Strategies.

7.4 Searching for Reactions through Explore References: Research Topic.

7.5 Combining Structure, Reaction, Functional Group and Keyword Terms.

7.6 Summary of Key Points.

Appendix 1. Some SciFinder Resources.

Appendix 2. CAS Roles in CAPLUS.

Appendix 3. Some Basic Principles Used by SciFinder in the Interpretation of a Research Topic Query. 

Appendix 4. Registration of Substances.

A4.1 Single Component Substances.

A4.2 Multicomponent Substances.

A4.3 Metal Complexes.

A4.4 Macromolecules.

A4.5 Other Cases.

Appendix 5. Understanding Structure Searches.

A5.1 The Resonance Issue.

A5.2 The Tautomerism Issue.

A5.3 Chain Lock Tool.

A5.4 Ring Lock Tool.

Appendix 6. Original Publication Discussed in Chapter 7, Section 7.1.


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The Wiley Advantage

  • Sophisticated information retrieval has become an integral part of the skill set required of professional chemists
  • The only companion guide to SciFinder
  • Gives practical advice on maximising your effectiveness with SciFinder
  • Contains problems and their solutions (on an accompanying website)
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"Overall this is a valuable resource and reference volume on using SciFinder to its full potential, while allowing the more casual user to dip into the key points and tips without delving into the complexities of the underlying algorithms used by SciFinder and the book therefore serves both the occasional use and expert alike." (Chemistry World, December 2010)

A state-of-the art product...is SciFinder, offering comprehensive databases both bibliographic and factual. A great majority of resources in SciFinder are produced by CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service), a division of the American Chemical Society. This platform also offers advanced tools for working more comfortably with the system. Damon D. Ridley in his book focuses in detail on every option offered by SciFinder.  His work can be considered a comprehensive guide of every part of SciFinder." (International Journal of Polymer Analysis and Characterization, August 2010)
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Press Release

February 01, 2010
Wiley releases Information Retrieval – SciFinder, 2nd Edition

"I just want to do a quick and simple search on…” is often heard in scientific laboratories but, with such a wealth of information available in such a broad range of formats, is a quick search really possible and will the results reveal what you are looking for?  This question is particularly relevant for scientists using SciFinder, an enormous and unrivalled set of databases that spans the chemical, engineering, life, medical and physical sciences (including five Chemical Abstract Service databases, part of the American Chemical Society, and the National Library of Medicine bibliographic database Medline) “SciFinder is the nearest thing to a Google for chemists,” says Jenny Cossham, publisher for Chemistry at Wiley UK, ‘Information Retrieval helps chemists get the most out of SciFinder. The second edition incorporates all the latest developments including a guide to the new web-based interface’.  But even for something as wide-ranging as SciFinder, the results you are looking for can be found quickly and easily, providing you have the background knowledge…

"…I strongly recommend this book for the library and the laboratory. It is carefully written, very readable and packed with tips…" Chemistry & Industry, 2003

Comprehensive, clearly laid-out and fully updated and revised to include the latest functionality and content of SciFinder, Information Retrieval is the only companion guide to what is fast becoming the standard for chemical information searches.  Written by a recognized SciFinder expert, it includes coverage of the last major new release of SciFinder in 2008 (including a new web interface) and is packed full of practical examples, screenshots and top tips boxes.  Uncomplicated and logically compiled, the guide discusses the 50+ search, analyze and refine options in the databases including topic, bibliographic, and chemical substance explore options, and post-processing options before going on to:

  • Summarize the databases and explain how best to use the unique search and analysis options
  • Explain selected algorithms behind the operation of SciFinder and why it helps to understand them
  • Show how to apply scientific method to information retrieval
  • Demonstrate how to search for chemical structures and chemical reactions

Without doubt, sophisticated information retrieval has become an integral part of the skill set required of professional chemists.  In taking the time to read and digest Information Retrieval, scientists can quickly and easily increase their research creativity and productivity. 

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