Searching SciFinder

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SciFinder is an advanced organic chemistry database that will allow you to search by molecule name, CAS #, formula, or even by molecular structure used by professors, graduate students, and research chemists. SciFinder does not contain the full text of scholarly articles, so you'll want to use the Journal Locator and ILL to retrieve articles that are important to you.

Details and Registration

In order to use SciFinder, you will need to register for an account with your COD email. You can see this file for help with registration.

Once you've registered an account, you can login to SciFinder and begin your work.

See the login link.

Searching SciFinder by Topic

You can search SciFinder in a variety of different ways. The first is to do a traditional search by topic. Click in the searchbox and type a phrase related to your search. See an example of a topic search here.

After you click search, SciFinder will attempt to refine your search. For example, for the search above, SciFinder presents me with the following options:


As you can see, the first two options are probably the best for my search:

  • 249 references were found containing "biodegradation of oil" as entered is showing me the articles that contain my search terms as a phrase.
  • 11481 references were found containing the two concepts "biodegradation" and "oil" closely associated with one another shows me the number of articles that have both biodegration and oil as closely related important topics.

Select the best option for your search and click "Get References."

At this point, you have some options to refine your search. The Refine box on the left of the screen will allow you to narrow your results by year, topic, or document type. You can also begin to click on article titles that sound interesting. Remember, SciFinder will usually not have articles in full-text. You'll want to begin your research early enough to use Journal Locator and ILL to hunt down the articles you need.

Searching by Molecule Name, Formula, CAS#, or Structure

On the initial search page, look for the Substances heading in the box to the left.


Note that here, you can select several options that will help you to learn more about a substance. For example, after selecting Substance Identifier I could type in Diphenhydramine, the brand name of the active ingredient in Benadryl, or one of the many other names the molecule has. I could also type 58-73-1, the CAS registry number for the substance.

Once I've selected the right substance from the options that appear, you'll notice that you can discover a lot of information about the substance, including:

  • formula
  • molecular weight
  • melting and boiling point
  • density
  • other names for the substance
  • experimental properties
  • experimental spectra (complete with article references)
  • regulatory information by country
  • much more info

Click on a reference for any one of these properties to be connected to the full abstract of the article.

Interlibrary Loan

Want to follow up on a SciFinder reference and read the full article? Start by checking our journal locator to be sure that the article isn't just in another of our databases. Type in the journal name to see if we have access to the journal, and if so, for which dates.

For journal articles, bibliographic citations in the chemical literature tend to give abbreviated titles. Talk to Laura if you need help finding the full journal title when requesting an article. This guide to chemistry journal abbreviations from University of British Columbia may also be helpful.

Still not finding your article?

Use Interlibrary Loan to get books and articles from other libraries. For books, be sure to get author, title and date whenever possible.