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Library providing access to science database
November 2, 1998

Faculty and students in the sciences will soon be able to gain access to one of the most up-to-date, user-friendly and versatile electronic resource retrieval systems available on their personal computers.

The electronic database, SciFinder Scholar, is issued by Chemical Abstracts, an annual print database established in 1907. The new Web-based system will offer access to literature published since 1967. All major scientific journals from the last 30 years are indexed, including international journals the library does not hold.

Library staff have developed a Web page that will enable individuals to download and install software to gain access to the database from their personal computers. "You can access the latest scientific information from all over the world, without leaving your office or dorm room," says Kevin Tapp, engineering librarian.

Chemical Abstracts provides current and comprehensive information regarding new patents and substances. SciFinder Scholar offers 14 million citations to the literature of chemistry; compound information including structure, chemical names, formulas, registry numbers (Chemical Abstracts' own identification numbers, universally accepted in scientific fields); and reaction information for organic and organo-metallic reactions.

The database is easy to use. Researchers can perform searches by chemical substance or reaction (using structure, name or molecular formula to identify), research topic, author name, registry number or patent number. To identify or search reactions, the program has a graphics option that permits the user to draw structures.

Non-technical language can be used to perform topic searches across a wide range of scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry and pharmacy, that are impossible to do with bound volumes. By combining key words, researchers can find information on selected topics, cross-referenced from journals in many different scientific disciplines, without having to sift through numerous printed volumes.

UConn is one of a handful of universities in the northeast offering this electronic resource, along with Yale and Wesleyan. "For Storrs and our regional campuses, it will be a significant tool for cutting-edge scientific research," says Frances Libbey, sciences bibliographer.

SciFinder Scholar searches are currently possible with the help of library staff at the Homer Babbidge Library's first-floor reference desk. The database is accessible Monday-Thursday, 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.; Friday 5 p.m. to Saturday 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to Monday, 5 a.m.. The licensing agreement allows access to the database only for academic use.

SciFinder Scholar will be demonstrated this week in a series of workshops. As well as providing instructions for downloading on to personal computers, library staff will demonstrate searches illustrating the software's capabilities. These sessions are open to members of the University community on Monday, November 2, 10-11:30 a.m.; Tuesday, November 3, 2-3:30 p.m.; and Friday, November 6, 9-10:30 a.m. in the library's Level Two Instructional Classroom. For more information contact Libbey at (860) 486-2521, e-mail at hbladm85@

Daniel Clay