Information Retrieval for Chemists: CHEM 2600

Tips for Using Scifinder

SciFinder Scholar Access

SciFinder Scholar access is only available for current students, faculty and staff at UMASS Lowell. You must have a current UML email address to register for SFS access.

Register to have web access via the link below. You will be able to choose your own username and password and a security question. You must receive an email from SFS and reply to it in order for your access to be complete.

SciFinder Scholar Registration

Only your name and email address are required.  Your email address must be your UML email address.

Please note that you must choose a username of 5-15 letters which may include only letters and/or numbers and any of the following special symbols:

  - dash
 _  Underscore


at symbol

Your password must be more complex, with 7-15 characters and AT LEAST THREE of the following:

  • Letters
  • Numbers
  • Mixed upper-lower case letters
  • Non-alphanumeric characters (e.g. @, #,%,&,*)
    Select a security question from the drop-down menu.
    Once registered, you may use SciFinder from any web-connected computer, provided you have properly proxied yourself for off campus use.

SciFinder Scholar Access


Logging in from Off Campus

TO USE SFS off campus:

Open the SFS browser (under "S" in the alphabet list on the library page) or on the SFS page for our class. You will be sent to the University Login page, where you must login with your university email address and password.  Then it will send you right to the SFS login page, where you must login with your SFS username and password.  On your own personal computer, laptop, or device, SFS allows you to keep your login open.  DO NOT choose this option when using a University or other public access computer.

Introduction to SciFinder

SciFinder Scholar consists of the complete Chemical Abstracts Service database from 1907- and the complete Medline database, from 1950-. Newest additions include millions of spectra, and records from chemical literature before 1907. UMASS Lowell Libraries provides SciFinder Web access for current students, faculty and staff in the Library, anywhere on campus and at home, provided they have properly registered for an account.
For help on searching SFS web, check out the tutorials provided by the Chemical Abstracts Service.
SciFinder Scholar is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except for  early Sunday mornings.  There is no limit on the number of simultaneous users.  We are guaranteed that all our users will be able to access SFS 95% of the time.  Please remember to read the conditions statement when logging on and abide by the limits on the number of records. Because of heavy use, please remember to log out completely and properly from SFS, otherwise a port will be blocked for up to 20 minutes.  

Part of SFS is a feature which will automatically connect you to the full text of an article, provided UML has access.  As part of this service, popups need to be enabled in the browser you use.  If possible, allow a permanent exception from the popup browser  for SFS--you should get a dialog about this the first time you try to get a full text article.  Warning:  Chrome browser message is very small, in the upper right hand corner, and may only be an icon!  Safari does not allow exceptions for the pop-up blocker, so you must turn off the popup blocker before using SFS via Safari.


SFS Finding the record in Question 1

Every Chemical Abstracts record in SciFinder Scholar has a unique identifier, often called a CAN (Chemical Abstracts Number).  The format for this unique number is: xxx:yyyyy, where x will be anywhere from 0 to a three digit number and the y's will be up to 7 digits.  Examples: 123:456789; 0:1345676; 25:2367.  The CAN number for any item is given on the right hand side of a full detailed record.  Records from Medline also have unique identifiers, labeled PubMedID.  If you ask for a record in SFS, and you get two answers, usually one of them will be a CA record and one will be a Medline record.  Always choose the CA record, unless instructed otherwise.

To obtain a CA record, choose EXPLORE from the main SFS page, and then Document Identifier.  Type in the Document Identifier in the box provided, one identifier per line.

Registry Records

The Registry Record of a compound is very important and contains much relevant information.  To locate the Registry record of a compound, under EXPLORE, select Substances/Substance Identifier.  Type in the Registry number, or if that is not known, type in any synonym for the compound.  You should get a record of a compound, with brief information.  Click on the registry number to see the detailed record for the compound.

Registry Records should always be cited as websites.  Spectra records from SFS are also cited as websites. 

There is also a drawing tool, where you may draw the compound and search for it by structure.  We suggest you get acquainted with the drawing tool, as it will be very valuable in the future.  ALL chemists should know how to use a drawing tool.​


Printing from SciFinder Scholar

SciFinder Scholar records are easily printed off.  In our class, we  generally want you to print off FULL records for each item.  However, some records are very long.  If you find that you have a multipage record, print off the FIRST page and then no more than one page more. The second page printed should contain the relevant information you were required to find.  For example, if asked for the listing of citations, you may find that you are printing page 1 and then the last page.

To print from SFS, you must enable popups.  Usually you can do this just for SFS.  When your browser asks if you want  the SFS site to allow popups, you reply Yes, and the SFS address will be stored in your popup exception list permanently.  However, some browsers, such as Chrome, display a small icon on the upper right hand side, instead of a message.  Click on the small icon to add SFS to your popup exception list. 

To print from SFS, select the item(s)  to be .printed.  If you need to print a list of titles, you may choose the option to only print titles.  Generally you will only be printing one item out as an answer.   The Print command is on the upper right hand side of the screen.  

When printing an abstract, you will get a box that offers choices.  The TITLE box is blank and should be used to label your printout with the question number being answered by the abstract.  You should choose to print a "Detail" record, and should include "Substances" and "Concepts"  as choices but the other choices (Task History, for example) are unnecessary.  Records recently added often contain partial information and do offer options for printing, they simply print the partial information available. 

When printing a registry record, the box will offer different choices.  Again you will have a TITLE box, but the list of suggested items is long.  You only need to select: Chemical Name, Experimental Properties, Experimental Spectra, and CAS Ref Roles.  ALL other choices are unnecessary.  "Predicted Properties" should NEVER be printed for our class.  We are only interested in actual properties for a compound that can be verified in the literature.

How to Download to EndNote

SFS records for journals, dissertations, patents, books and other material should always be cited as journals/books/dissertations, etc. and NOT as a website.  Download your records into EndNote to do this properly.  Here is how:

SFS records may be downloaded into EndNote, but not directly (as one could in ASP)   To download from SFS to EndNote:

Select the record(s) you wish to download to EndNote.  Click on EXPORT.

Select Citation export format: .ris


Tagged Format .txt

Name your file and select export.  You should have a destination folder on your computer to hold these exported files.

Open EndNote.  Select Collect/Import Reference.  You need to choose an import filter.

REMEMBER, as new users of EndNote, you might have to select your favorite import filters!!

Browse to find your saved file.

IF you saved in .RIS, select RefMan RIS as your import filter.

IF you saved in .tagged format, select CAS SciFinder as your import filter.

Choose where you want to have your file in EndNote.  Then hit IMPORT.  Your item will be moved into EndNote.