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Getting Started with SciFinder

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Access from Off Campus:  Proxy vs VPN

To get to all our licensed resources while outside the campus network, you must use our Proxy Server to establish a session that carries a recognized UT Austin IP address.  Two methods:

  • Follow a link from any Library web page, catalog record or database directory, and enter your UT EID and password when prompted.  Multifactor authentication with Duo is then required.
  • Bookmark this link in your browser: 

VPN will not work for this purpose, and will interfere with a proxy connection.  Exit VPN and proceed through your local network to establish a proxied connection via links on the Libraries' pages. 

Coming from another institution?

If you're new to UT but used SciFinder at a previous institution, your old account won't work here.  Create a new one by registering above with your email address.  TIP:  If your web browser "remembers" and automatically enters your old SciFinder login ID and password, you'll have to clear that out and update it with your new one.

Who can use SciFinder?

Individuals affiliated with UT-Austin may register for a personal SciFinder account and use it from any computer that is connected to or proxied through the campus network, including library workstations.  Authorized persons include:

  • Currently enrolled students
  • Currently appointed faculty and staff
  • Retired and emeritus faculty and staff (with official retiree status)
  • Currently appointed postdocs
  • Official visiting scholars (with valid faculty/staff UT EID and email address)

These types of individuals are not allowed to register for or use SciFinder:

  • Alumni and former students (1 semester after departure)
  • Former faculty, staff; former postdocs
  • Unofficial visitors (without faculty/staff UT EID or utexas email address)
  • Library Courtesy Borrowers
  • General Public

Terms of Use

Use of SciFinder must be for educational and academic research purposes only. Commercial use - including patentability searching - on behalf of any profit-making entity, regardless of one's personal status at UT, is not permitted. Users must agree to these terms when connecting to the resource. CAS actively monitors and reports suspect activity, and violation of the terms of use may result in loss of access.

scifinder small logoSciFinder Reference Searching

The functions of SciFinder are often not intuitive, especially in how it searches for references using keyword terms, and how it sorts results.  Be sure to consult the Help pages to improve your chances for a successful search.

  • The main References Search box supports Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), nesting with parentheses, and wildcards.  BUT:  Boolean operators are not functional within the ADVANCED search fields or the "Search within Results" filter. Also, there is no way to specify proximity between terms.
  • Multiple unrelated terms entered in the main Search Box are connected with an implied OR operator.  This is not intuitive (most other familiar databases and search engines use an implied AND).  If you want all the terms present in your results, use the AND operator or enclose phrases within quotes.
    • A feature called Precision Reference Search causes multi-term queries that match subject headings in CAS' internal thesaurus (Lexicon) to be treated as single-concept terms, reducing the size of result sets.  However, truncating a term with an asterisk bypasses this feature.
  • Relevance ranking of reference results is now possible.  Re-sorting by reverse date may be advisable in some cases.
  • Author name searching is even less intuitive, particularly when trying to include alternate forms of a name.  Punctuation in names is critical -- include the comma.
  • Searching by publication information for a known reference (using journal, year, volume, etc.) is still possible using the Publication Name advanced search field.
  • The underlying search algorithm is frequently updated behind the scenes.  This means that results from a given query may not be the same over time. 

Sources of Help and Training

What's in SciFinder?

SciFinder is by far the most comprehensive source of research-level chemical information. It provides integrated access to these Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) databases, plus Medline:

SciFinder vs Reaxys

SciFinder and Reaxys are complementary resources, and although there is some overlap the two are quite different in their respective literature coverage, and the ways they register compounds and index reactions. It's advisable to consult both databases for the most complete coverage of compounds, reactions, and properties.  Reaxys (via content from the old Beilstein and Gmelin handbooks) is better at extracting property data from earlier literature (pre-1970s), and will find articles that SciFinder won't due to CA's less thorough substance indexing in that period.

No news at the moment!

CAS is always introducing new features to the interface (mostly to structure/reaction areas), and you can see notices of changes at their What's New page.


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