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Chemical Identifiers: Names, Trade Names, and Structures

U.T. restricted : Restricted to UT-Austin
star : Recommended


There are lots of free web sources of chemical data, but some have been shown to contain many errors, especially related to the proper structure definition and naming of specific compounds. Search engines and spiders can proliferate errors in a short time, so use these open access tools with caution. Those marked with critical are the most reliable, and other recommended tools are marked with a star.

ChemExper Chemical Directory
Contains records for over 200,000 chemicals, 10,000 MSDS, and 10,000 IR spectra. The directory can be searched by registry number, molecular formula, chemical name or synonyms, physical and chemical characteristics, and substructure. The data are submitted from various sources and should not be considered critically evaluated.

Chemical Structure Lookup Service
Look up whether a structure occurs in various different databases, both public and commercial. Search input must be InChIs, FICuS or uuuuu identifiers, molecular formulas, SMILES, or IDs used in the original individual database. (NIH)

ChemIDplus is a free, web-based search system that provides access to structure and nomenclature authority files used for the identification of chemical substances cited in National Library of Medicine (NLM) databases. ChemIDplus also provides structure searching and direct links to many biomedical resources at NLM and on the Internet for chemicals of interest. The database contains over 350,000 chemical records, of which over 80,000 include chemical structures, and is searchable by Name, Synonym, CAS Registry Number, Molecular Formula, Classification Code, Locator Code, and Structure. Structure display requires the Chime plugin. (National Library of Medicine)

ChemSpider star
Free database of chemical compounds with structures and some physical property data drawn from publicly available sources and collaborators. It links out to multiple external data sources using intelligent open data transfer. (RSC)

Combined Chemical Dictionary U.T. restricted critical star
Database containing detailed information on over 500,000 chemical substances and their derivatives. It includes descriptive and numerical data on the chemical, physical, spectral and biological properties of compounds; systematic and common names of compounds; literature references; structure diagrams and their associated connection tables. Contains all compounds previously published in: Dictionary of Organic Compounds; Dictionary of Natural Products; Dictionary of Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds; Dictionary of Drugs ; Dictionary of Analytical Reagents; Dictionary of Commonly Cited Compounds.

Common Chemistry critical
A free CAS database containing names, synonyms, formulas and structures for about 7800 chemicals of wide general public interest. Searchable by name or CAS Registry Number.

CWM Global Search
Metasearch engine that looks for chemical names, structures and Registry Numbers across a number of web databases. Not all browsers support the JDraw applet, and the free version does less than the paid version.

Heterocycles Database
A database of over 50,000 natural products with a heterocyclic ring system whose structure has been established, collected from current chemical literature 1975-. See also the complementary Synthesis database. (Heterocycles, Japan)

IUPAC - Recommendations on Organic & Biochemical Nomenclature, Symbols & Terminology
Full text and updates to IUPAC and IUBMB recommendations.

InChI (International Chemical Identifier) is a recently developed non-proprietary identifier for chemical structures that is increasingly used in Web data sources, including Google. Source code and documentation can be downloaded upon license agreement.

Named Reagents
Structure diagrams and references for some important reagents. (Univ. of Wisconsin)

OPSIN: Open Parser for Systematic IUPAC Nomenclature
This system will parse a chemical name and return a structure, SMILES string, and InChI key. (Univ. of Cambridge)

Organic Compounds Database
Database of 2500 organic compounds, searchable by melting/boiling points, refractive index, element counts, UV and MS peaks, etc. Intended to assist organic lab students with identifying unknowns. (Colby College)

Reaxys U.T. restricted star
Database of millions organic and inorganic structures, with associated chemical properties and corresponding source literature references back to 1779. Nomenclature tools in Reaxys: Use the "Generate structure from name" tool; or to generate an IUPAC name from a structure use the MarvinSketch structure editor to draw the structure, then click Tools/Naming and select the appropriate convention.

SciFinder - Registry U.T. restricted critical star
The Registry database indexes names and synonyms for millions of reported substances, mixtures, polymers, biological compounds, and other materials. While Registry does index many trade names found in the chemical literature, CAS makes no systematic effort to gather and index all known trade names for a specific substance. Registry is the definitive source for CAS Registry Numbers for use in searching other tools.

Sigma-Aldrich Catalog critical star
Searchable product catalog from a major research chemical supplier. Search by catalog number, name, formula, CAS registry number. Chemical/physical information, structure image, FT-IR and NMR spectra, and MSDS are displayable. Registration is required to view some information.

SMILES Translator
NIH site that allows input of chemical structure (via JME applet) or SMILES (Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry System) string, translated to a SMILES output for various formats and purposes.

The web encyclopedia contains a great deal information on all kinds of chemical compounds. Active curation efforts on several fronts are attempting to improve the quality and reliability of its chemical data content. But since it's an anonymously edited database, all information found here should be verified elsewhere before being trusted.


A trade name is a proprietary name, which may or may not be a registered trademark, that is applied to a product by a company for the purposes of marketing and sales. It generally doesn't convey much chemical information.

There is no single source for identifying the chemical names or composition of specific trade names and vice-versa. The sheer number of commercial products and trademarks, and their constant flux over time, make such a tool impossible. The sources listed here are good starting points. Earlier editions of some of these resources should be consulted when historical trade names are needed.

Chem sources U.S.A.
TP 12 C443 Reference
Annual listing of commercially available chemicals and their producers, with company and trade name indexes. Separate section for polymers.

Chemical Abstracts Index Guide
This quasi-subject thesaurus provided cross-references to official CA Index Names for commonly used trivial and trade names. Use the CA Index Name to consult the printed Chemical Substance Indexes. The Index Guide changed over time, so consult the appropriate edition for the indexing period you want. Shelved with the CA Collective Indexes. See the page on printed CA for more information.

Chemical manufacturers directory of trade name products.
TP 12 C535 2000 Reference
Information on 63,000 chemical and material trade name products currently sold worldwide.

Chemical tradename dictionary.
TP 9 A73 1993 Reference
Entries include principal manufacturer and brief description. Manufacturer directory in back.

Dictionary of chemical names and synonyms.
TP 9 H65 1992 Reference
Entries in CAS registry number order, giving formula, molecular weight, SMILES notation, preferred name and synonyms. Name/synonym index forms the latter half of the volume.

Drugs: synonyms and properties.
RS 51 D776 2000 Reference
Descriptions of over 10,000 drugs from the USP. Name/synonym index in the back.

Encyclopedia of chemical trademarks and synonyms.
TP 9 E529 1981 Reference
Dated compendium of older trade names, trademarks, generic names, and acronyms.

Gardner's chemical synonyms and trade names. 11th ed.
TP 9 G286 1999 Reference
A dictionary and commercial handbook containing brief description of terms, with cross-references and British spellings. Covers industrial products, pesticides, agricultural chemicals, etc.

Handbook of green chemicals.
TP 201 A845 1998 Reference
Includes trade name index of environmentally-friendly chemicals.

Handbook of plastic compounds, elastomers and resins.
TP 1130 A84 1992 Reference
Part 1 is organized by compound category, and contains information on manufacturer, description, properties, function, and application; part 2 is a trade name cross-reference (start here); part 3 is a chemical component cross-reference, including CAS registry numbers; part 4 is a manufacturer's directory.

Organic-chemical drugs and their synonyms. 9th ed.
RS 154 N428 2007 Reference
7-volume set arranged by molecular formula, including a 2-volume synonym index. Entries include CAS Registry numbers, list of salts, and the compound's uses.

Physicians' Desk Reference
RS 75 P5 Reference; Life Science
The PDR is the standard guide to prescription drugs in the U.S. It includes a brand and generic name index. The latest annual edition is located in the Life Science Library.

Rapid guide to trade names and synonyms of environmentally regulated chemicals.
T 55.3 H3 P645 1998 Reference
30,000 English language names and foreign synonyms of chemicals regulated under RCRA, CERCLA, CAA, CWA, and SDWA, plus listings of registry numbers from CAS, RTECS, FEMA, NCI, USAF, UN, EINECS, etc.

Specialty chemicals source book.
TP 201 A847 1997 Reference
Profiles of over 8000 chemical products used in formulated end products; all trade names are fully cross-referenced in vol.1.

USP dictionary of USAN and international drug names.
RS 55 U54 Reference; Life Science
Annual listing of drug names and structures from the United States Pharmacopeia. Most recent edition located in Life Science Library's Pharmacy Resource Center.

see more Organic nomenclature

see more about Trademarks... from the Engineering Library and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.