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Searching SciFinder

SciFinder: A CAS Solution

Exploring References

Searching by Research Topic

Basic Search

  • Choose the "Research Topic"  option under explore and references. This is the default search method when Scifinder is started

  • You can use the Boolean operators " AND, OR, or NOT" or write the query as a phrase. 

  • Instead of using the Boolean OR, try using parenthesis.   Instead of "antibiotics OR medicine" try:

    •  antibiotics (medicine)

  • Instead of using the Boolean "AND" try using "of"

    • "Of" can be used more easily in a natural language phrase

    • "Of" also generates close association, (the words must be near each other) 

  • Scifinder is designed for the use of "Natural Language", as opposed to any specific keywords or artificial command prompts  

  • Don't use Quotation marks or parentheses to group a phrase, Scifinder views parentheses as a Boolean OR, and does not recognize quotation marks  


  • Note: the above works for advanced searches as well

‚ÄčScreenshot of search on Scifinder

  •  Select the combination or combinations of terms that best describe your topic by clicking in the check-box beside each applicable option. Click Get References

Screenshot of search results

Limiting your search

  • Select the Advanced Search option under the search bar

Advanced search search bar in SciFinder

Selecting the Limiters

  • Select the combination or combinations of terms that best describe your topic by clicking in the check-box beside each applicable option.

  •  Use the filters  (such as Publication Year, Language, Author Name, etc) to limit you results 

Options of limiters listed on site

Choose your references

  • Select the combination or combinations of terms that best describe your topic by clicking in the check-box beside each applicable option. Click Get References

Example of list of references


close associations 

Analyzing the Results

Choose what you would like to analyze the results by:

  • Analyze by author: Only locate references by a specified author 
  • CAS Registry Number - lists CAS Registry Numbers for referenced substances
  • CA Section Title - refers to the 80 categories of scientific information used to organize the print entries in Chemical AbstractsTM
  • Company - Organization - lists the company or organization associated with the references
  • Database - lists the database sources for the references
  • Document Type - lists the original document types
  • Index Term - refers to controlled vocabulary terms used to categorize the references in the database
  • CA Concept Heading - refers to controlled vocabulary terms used to identify the general subject matter of the reference
  • Journal Name - lists the journal publications
  • Language - lists the languages in which the original documents were written
  • Publication Year - lists the years that the documents were published
  • Supplementary Terms - refers to keywords that identify main concepts for the document subject matter, usually related to terms used by authors in the original publication


Choose one or more limiters to analyze the results by

Sidebar option to analyze by document type



  • Scifinder will limit the results to your qualifications, if the analysis was useful it is possible to save the search criteria by choosing keep analysis (use for complex searches)


  • If the analysis eliminated too many of the results it is possible to undo without losing the results by choosing clear analysis

Options to keep analysis or clear analysis




Note: Analyze cannot function with more than 20,000 results, limit the search more

Refine the Results

  • Refine by research topic: Only locate references on a specified topic (useful if you have done a substance search and want to find articles that deal with a particular use or property of that substance)
  • Refine by document type: Limits your search to one or more types of documents, such as patents, journal articles, conference papers, etc.

  • Refine by language: It is possible to select more than one language at a time

  • Refine by publication year: Helpful if you are looking for either the most recent or the oldest information on a particular topic or a specific time period.

  • Refine by company name: Search only for references whose authors are associated with a particular institution. Example; University of Pennsylvania 

  • Refine by database: Only CAPLUS, MEDLINE, CHEMZENT are available

 Options to refine by research topic, author, company name, etc.

Categorization References

Categorizing References*: The Categorize feature allows you to divide your references into categories based on Chemical Abstracts index terms. *This feature is only enabled when your answer set is fewer than 15,000 search results.*

The default for categories is equivalent to a Boolean "OR" between the index terms, to use a Boolean ''AND" (require both index terms) you have to select each category and index term separately  

Screenshot of categorization options for heading, index terms, and selected terms

Retrieving the Results

After clicking "Get References" this will lead you to a list of articles that meet your search criteria. Each article will list the title, authors, citation information and part of an abstract. You can also remove any duplicate articles by clicking on the Remove Duplicates link which is highlighted in blue towards the top of the screen. You can link to the abstract and any images associated with the article using the You can also link to the full text of the article from this page by clicking on the full text icon beneath the citation or on the blue hyperlink of the article. If the Full text link is not available try using the Other sources link. This may take you outside of Scifinder to reach the article your looking for.

Screenshot of list of results Quick View example 

Screenshot of quick view, which is a pop-up with the title, authors, and abstract

Full Text example

Screenshot of full text - title, authors, assingees, abstract, patent information, and indexing


Searching by Author

  • Choose "Author Name" on the list at the top left of the homepage
  • For the best results use the authors last name and initials 
    • Medline only include last name and first initial in their database
  • When searching for an author with a non-english name use the alternative spelling option
    • this will allow for umlauts, Asian language characters, and translation differences  

Author name search bar - last name, first name, middle

Select the relevant options from the alternative spelling of authors name

Example of different spellings in a results page

3. After clicking Get References you can use the tools on the left side of the page to analyze, refine or catagorize the results as you would a research topic search. 

Training videos from CAS

Screen shots throughout this guide are taken from SciFinder and are used with permission from CAS. Copyright 2020 American Chemical Society, all rights reserved.

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