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Guide to Chemistry Information Sources: SciFinder

A general guide to information resources in chemistry and related disciplines, at IUP Libraries and beyond.

How to Access Scifinder

SciFinder® is a web-based tool that requires registration. Please contact the Science Librarian to obtain the registration instructions.

Important Information

LICENSING: SciFinder is only licensed for use by IUP faculty, staff, and students.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS: SciFinder is "seat-limited" software. In other words, CAS limits how many people can connect to the CAS databases at one time.

The IUP Libraries subscription to SciFinder is limited to one connected user at any given time; if you attempt to log on to the system while another user is logged in, you will receive a notice that you cannot connect. Please wait a few minutes, and try again.

In order to keep the system availability as high as possible, please make an effort to:

  1. Use SciFinder efficiently and quickly to find your resources.
  2. Remember to log out as soon as you are finished!

Using SciFinder Scholar

What is SciFinder?

SciFinder is a web-based tool developed by CAS (formerly, Chemical Abstracts Service) to search their extensive database of chemistry information, articles, and resources. CAS is the most respected and most complete database of articles and information in the chemical sciences in the world. 

Topic Searches

The following instructions will guide you through a Research Topic search in SciFinder. This is the default way to search CAS. However, there are many other ways to find information using SciFinder. Please consult the User Guide for details on the full set of features offered.

Getting Started

  1. Access the SciFinder website by visiting
  2. Log in using the username and password you set up when you registered (contact the Science Librarian for registration details if you have not already registered).
  3. Click the Accept button to agree to the terms of use.

Exploring by Research Topic

  1. Select Research Topic
  2. Enter a few words describing your topic: these can be concepts, or they can be full sentences or phrases. SciFinder will do its best to understand what you wrote both as keywords and as concepts.
  3. You may also select a few limiters in the area below the search screen, such as date range, document type, language, and so forth.
  4. In the results window, SciFinder will show you what it calls "Research Candidates" - that is, references that contain the concepts being searched.
  5. Check one or more of the candidates presented, and hit 
  6. Select one or more of the result lists shown by checking them off, and click the Get References button.

Results List

After selecting the various possible result sets, you will be presented with a page of citations to various articles. You may select one or more of these references, at which point you have several options:

Remove Duplicates

Since SciFinder searches multiple databases by default, it is possible that the same record is found in more than one place - this can lead to inflated result lists and general frustration. It is a good idea at this point to click the Tools menu (at the top of the list) and select Remove Duplicates to clean up the results list so that each item is unique.


In the right-hand column of the screen, you'll see two tabs: Analysis and Refine. These allow you to either analyze your results list - preparing charts of author frequencies, citations, and other data from the full list - or refine your search by adding new search terms, restricting it to certain document types, limiting it to particular substances, and several other options. Use this to reduce your result list and focus it on the concepts you want to find. You can analyze or refine your entire list, or you can select a subset of articles to analyze by clicking on the checkbox next to the article citation.

Get Related...

Get Related (located in the menu at the top of the result list) will search the CAS databases to retrieve articles that may be related to the articles you've found already. The relation may be that the articles address the same chemical substances, or the same chemical reaction or reaction process. They may also be related by citation - SciFinder allows you to retrieve other articles that cite the article you're viewing, or retrieve the articles that are cited by the article you are viewing. To use this option, select one or more articles by clicking the checkbox next to the article citation, and click the Get Related... button.

Article Details

Clicking on the title of an entry will open the complete record for that citation, including abstract, indexing information, citations and references, and other information (assuming that such information is available in the record).

Full-Text Options

Clicking the "Full Text" link at the right of a citation will query the IUP Libraries' catalog and serials databases to see if we subscribe to the journal in which the article appears, and if the full-text of the article in question is available. If so, you will be given links to the appropriate database to access the article.


After you have refined your results list to a set of articles you want to review, you now have the option of saving your results set.

To save your results:

  1. Select the articles you want to include in your saved information by clicking the checkbox next to the article citation
  2. Click the Save link at the top-right of the results list (it's somewhat small!). This will save the selected references (called an "answer set") to the CAS server. If you wish to save the information to your computer, click the Export link, instead.


You can also print your result list to a PDF file on your computer.

  1. Select the articles you want to print by clicking the checkbox next to the article citation
  2. Click the Print link at the top-right of the results list.
  3. Select the options you desire, and click the Print button.