Emory Report

Feb. 8, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 19

Emory joins universities using comprehensive chemical database

More than 20 universities from across the nation have signed on with Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the world's leading provider of chemical information, to acquire "SciFinder Scholar."

First introduced to the academic community earlier this year, "SciFinder Scholar" provides chemistry faculty and graduate students with easy point-and-click access to the world's largest and most comprehensive databases of chemical information. The product uses an intuitive graphical interface (GUI), requires no training and allows research by topic, author and--critical to chemists--molecular structure.

Harvard, Stanford and Ohio State universitites are among the more than 20 institutions that have signed agreements for "SciFinder Scholar."

Non-academic chemists who for more than a year have used "SciFinder," the companion product developed for professional and industrial chemists launched by CAS in 1995, has led to productivity gains and improved creativity in the research process. These results are among the findings of a recently released independent survey of "SciFinder" users.

"Response by users in the Chemistry Library and chemistry department has been overwhelmingly positive," said Chemistry Librarian Donna Hudson. "This is the first product that has really made electronic searching of Chemical Abstracts within the realm of the majority of graduate students, and certainly the undergraduates," she added.

"Unlike searching STN CASOnline, 'SciFinder Scholar' allows the user to search for references on a generic topic, chemical substance or reaction without having to know controlled vocabulary or database-specific command language," Hudson explained. Questions are posed in natural language. "To put it mildly, even faculty who were rigorously trained print users love it," she said.

The Health Sciences Center Library also has tested the product. Because Emory purchased a campuswide site license, currently enrolled students or faculty and staff may install the SciFinder Scholar client on their computers if the IP address is registered with Emory. Users can also access the database from home through EmoryConnect. For more information about accessing "SciFinder Scholar" call the Chemistry Library at 404-727-6618.

The current license agreement limits Emory access to two simultaneous users. And the academic "SciFinder Scholar," unlike its industrial twin, limits searches after 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on weekends beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, according to Hudson.

--Nancy Brooks

This article originally appeared in the General Libraries newsletter, General News, and is used with permission.

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