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Resources & tips for Biochemistry Research

What Can You Find in SciFinder? (CAS SciFinderⁿ)

You can "authoritatively identify a chemical substance and its related chemical structures, chemical names, regulatory information, and properties, including CAS Registry Numbers®, reaction schemes, step-by-step experimental procedures, detailed conditions, and product yields."

Contains the "world's largest substance search for both organic and inorganic substances"

Search by:

  • Overall by Keyword, Substance Name, CAS RN, Patent Number, PubMed ID, AN, CAN, and/or DOI
  • Substances
  • Reactions
  • References = Find articles, patents, reviews, biographies, clinical trials, conference materials, editorials, preprints, reports, etc.
  • Suppliers
  • Biosequences = Enter a protein or nucleotide string
  • Retrosynthesis = Draw or import a structure to perform a retrosynthetic analysis

Getting Started with SciFinder

Register to use SciFinder

Are you a first time user of SciFinder? Then you'll need to Register to Use SciFinder - create a free account for yourself with a login and password.

SciFinder is only available to Boise State University (BSU) employees or students, so you must have a BSU email address and use it to register.

Once you register, you will receive an email message. Complete the registration process by agreeing to the SciFinder terms of use (required).

Logging into SciFinder

If you're already registered to use SciFinder, your ready to Login

NOTE: Accounts log off automatically after 15 minutes of inactivity

SciFinder Mobile

There's no app to download, no IP address restrictions; just point the Web browser on your mobile device to and login.

Quick Guide and Tutorials

If you're new to SciFinder, you may want to review the SciFinder Quick Reference Guide.

On the SciFinder Training website, you will find short, targeted tutorials and videos organized by search type. Here are a few videos you might find helpful when getting started.

  • Use a Structure Search to Find Compounds (Substance Searching): how to search for chemical compounds using a structure search; how to access physical, chemical and biological property information. Find references associated with the substance, related reactions, information about its commercial availability and regulatory information, when available
  • Search for Specific Reactions or Reaction Type (Reaction Searching)how to find information about a specific chemical reaction or reaction type; how to access associated reaction information, such as catalysts, solvents, yields, and experimental procedures

  • Search for a Specific Topic (Reference Searching): how to find information about a specific research topic; how to use CAS indexing to fine tune your search; what to do if you only need a few good references as compared to a more comprehensive answer set

  • Search by a Sequence Searching (Sequence Searching)


NOTE: You may have to scroll down to find the video. Be patient! Sometimes the videos are slow to load in the page after you click the link below.

ProTips for using SciFinder

Figuring out Terminology

Search the CAS Lexicon to find concepts and substances to build a Reference Search. So if you, like me, can't spell very well or forget what PFAFS stands for, you can find it in the Lexicon, as well as additional, similar concepts and terms.

From within SciFinder, you will see a "Launch CAS Lexicon" button that will take you to the Lexicon search page.


SciFinder search page with Launch CSA Lexicon Circled

Finding the Full-Text

Once you have a completed a SciFinder search and have a list of articles you want, you can find the full text by clicking on the "full text" button (lower left of each article).

SciFinder record with Full Text button circled


You will see 3 choices:

  • Find It leads you to "in-house" full text available through BSU's Albertsons Library
  • DOI means "Digital Object Identifier", and will lead you to Full Text openly available on the Internet, also called "Open Access"
  • View All Sources will take you to a page that lists gives you choices for how you access the full article

Citation Mapping

If you find a great article that is exactly what you need, take a look at the references cited in each article. If the article has been cited, look at the articles that cite it. This is an excellent way to expand your search and make sure you've found all the critical articles in your research area. SciFinder has 2 features that help you do this. The Citation Mapping feature in SciFinder allows you to search backward into the articles authors used to write an article, and forward in time to those who cited the authors' article.

Watch this short video tutorial, Citation Maps from Reference Searches in SciFinderⁿ, or read on.


The "Citing" button

Where ever you see the Citing button click it to see articles that cite the article you found. This image shows the Citing button in the lower right of a record in the search results list

Search results list record with Citing button circled lower right


The Citation Map button

You can enter this feature wherever you see the Citation Map button. The image below shows the button in the bottom right corner of a SciFinder record in the search results list:

Search Results record with Citation Map button circled lower right


Th following image shows the Citation Map button in the middle of the top navigation bar after you've selected a particular record to review.

Within SciFinder record top navigation bar with citation map button circled


Citation Mapping Basics:

Once you have selected a record you want to mine for additional sources, click the Citation Map button

Within the Citation Map feature, the "Root Article" is the article in your search results that you've chosen to mine for additional sources. For example, in the images used in this example, the article we're mining is 

Recognition of the 3' splice site RNA by the U2AF heterodimer involves a dynamic population shift, By: von Voithenberg, Lena Voith; Sanchez-Rico, Carolina; Kang, Hyun-Seo; Madl, Tobias; Zanier, Katia; Barth, Anders; Warner, Lisa R; Sattler, Michael; Lamb, Don C. in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol113, No 46, pages: E7169-E7175

This is the Root Article in our example below

Once in the Citation Map, notice the left navigation bar. You can use the tabs to:

  • Filter your results by Document Type, Author, Concept, and Language
  • Click the "Cited By" tab you will see all the sources cited by the "Root Article" in purple
    • This is called searching backward into the citations of an article
  • Click the "Citing" tab you will see all the sources that have cited the "Root Article" in green
    • This is called searching forward as a root article will only have this type of citation if it has been published and available long enough for researchers to find and cite it

You will also see a Citation Map like the one below, with the "Root Article" in the middle, The Cited By sources in purple to the Left, and the Citing sources in green to the right


Citation Map with Root Article noted in the middle, Cited By sources on the left and Citing sources on the right


If you put your mouse arrow over any of the Purple or Green dots, a pop up box will appear telling you the title of the source represented by the dot.

Example of pop up citation box when cursor arrow is pointed at green Citing dot


You can expand the map to follow the citations in any of the sources by clicking on the Expand Citations button in the pop up box.

Citation map expanded to show sources cited by one of the articles cited by the root article


Beware! It is easy to get lost drilling down into all of the citations. It may help to drill down into the citations by using the filters to limit by documentation type or author. In the left navigation bar under the Author filter, you'll note that authors are listed in order by the highest cited to the least cited.

Citation Map Author Filter showing most cited authors first

Finding Spectra in SciFinder

1. Perform a Substances search for the substance of interest.

  • Tip: If you search with the CAS number for a substance, the search should return a single record.

2. Click on the substance record.

SciFinder substance record


3. In the record details, look for the "Experimental Spectra" section and open the drop down menu.

  • There is usually also a "Predicted Spectra" section, but the "Experimental Spectra" are preferred because the spectra come from actual experimental data. If there are only "Predicted Spectra" listed for your substance, try searching another database like Reaxys or SDBS. 

4. Select the tab for proton NMR spectra (1H NMR). It's usually the first tab.

5. Select one of the links for "View Proton NMR Spectrum" to see the image.

  • The "Source" on the right side lists the company, lab, or literature that the spectrum came from.

6. Once you have opened up the spectrum viewer, look below the image. There should be a Download button for a .JPG file. 

7. You also will see the citation information listed at the bottom of the spectrum viewer page. 

  • If the spectrum came from a journal article, you should see a link to the literature record.
  • If the spectrum came from a supplier or commercial lab, there might be no associated paper or link.

Tell SciFinder to Keep You Posted (KMP Alerts)

Once you have a completed a substance or reference search and have a set of results, you can create a Keep Me Posted (KMP) Alert, so SciFinder will periodically rerun your search then send you an email message if new records are found.

To set up a KMP Alert use the "Save and Alert" button in the right of the top navigation bar


Top right of navigation bar with Save and Alert button circled


You will receive a SciFinder-n Alert Results for References email automatically to notify you when new records on your topic become available.


Example of a SciFinder Keep Me Posted Alert Email

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