Searching the Literature
Bibliographic databases (i.e., indexes) are vital for searching the primary literature, but they are not well designed for locating property data contained within original documents, especially if the document presents the data in passing rather than as the main focus. It is not always easy to determine from a title and abstract if a paper contains desired data at all.
SciFinder (Chemical Abstracts)
The SciFinder version of the Chemical Abstracts database (CAPLUS
) can be searched for documents since the late 19th century that may contain desired physical property information. There are various ways to do this search, which should yield very similar if not identical results.
A. Start with the Research Topic query using the substance's Registry Number.
You can use the RN as a search term in place of a chemical name, and your search will be more precise by avoiding name-fragment hits that are not directly related to the compound you're seeking. Examples:
dissociation constant OF 7778-77-0
heat formation AND 10045-86-0
- The OF operator causes SciFinder to look for records that contain both the property name and the RN anywhere in the record. You can choose the references with the concepts "closely associated with one another" to increase precision further. The AND operator just looks for the concepts anywhere in the record but doesn't offer the proximity option.
- If the property index term contains a stopword, such as in "Heat of formation", omit the stopword from your query because SciFinder otherwise will treat it as a connector.
B. Start from the Explore Substances search:
- Search for a compound by Registry Number, molecular formula, name, or structure
- Click "Get References" and retrieve references from all years.
Selecting "Properties" from the"roles" pop-up menu will retrieve only post-1967 references. (The Properties role has not been retrospectively assigned to RNs before that date.) Since much fundamental property data was reported before that time, you should skip this menu and just get all references.
- Use the Refine tab to limit the results set using a property name. Omit stopwords from a property name phrase as described in example A above.
An Alternative to Traditional Indexes: Thermophysical Properties Research Literature Retrieval Guide