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Geology: SciFinder

Subject Guide

Ginny Boehme's picture
Ginny Boehme
219D Laws Hall


SciFinder is the most important database in chemistry.  It is also one of the most powerful databases out there in any discipline!  You have two options on how you would like to search the database, the client version or the web version.

  • Client version - you have to download software to your computer to use this version.  It can be slightly faster, but CAS is making improvements to the web version to increase speed.  You will need to also use VPN if you are going to use the client version from home or using any wireless networks (Miami's included).
  • Web version - can do everything the client version can but with a much nicer interface.  You will need to create your own account using your email address.  Access from off-campus will require you to login to our proxy server.  You will be prompted to do this.

Simultaneous users... unfortunatley, with SciFinder being so expensive, we can only have 4 users logged in at one time.  If you get a message saying that there are too many concurrent users, try the other version (client instead of web, web instead of client) if possible.  If not, try another database and come back to SciFinder later.

You can search the web version of the database in several ways:

  • Explore References - Searching a Research Topic is probably a common thing you will want to do.  SciFinder has a secret natural-language processor that will help find as many references as possible for you.  This means that you don't have to come up with different synonyms or worry about using AND, OR, and NOT.  Enter a sentance the way you would normally say it... like "the mechanism of Diels-Alder reactions".
  • Explore Substances - This lets you search by structure (there is a structure drawing tool that will let you draw in your molecule, or you can upload a .MOL file that you created using other drawing software).  You can also search by Molecular Formula or Substance Identifier (CAS Registry Number or name)
  • Explore Reactions - Similar to Explore Substances, this section allows you to search for a reaction by drawing it in.  You can assign roles to your molecules (product, reagent, etc.).