A step-by-step tutorial for using SciFinder Scholar which is the best resource to find journal articles, conference proceedings, and other materials covering the chemical and related sciences.


  • This is the BEST tool to use to find chemical or chemistry related information
  • Allows searching by: chemical substance/reaction, topic, author name, document identifier (CAS Number), and company name 


  • Access SciFinder Scholar through the Databases link on the left hand navigation bar of the Libraries' home page (http://www.library.unt.edu)by typing SciFinder in the search box or by clicking the Go Directly To drop down and scrolling until you find SciFinder.
  • If you are using SciFinder off campus, follow the same steps. You will need to enter your EUID and password.
  • You must register to use SciFinder Scholar first. 
  • You need to register using an x.y@unt.edu e-mail or xy@my.unt.edu e-mail at the url: https://origin-scifinder.cas.org/registration/index.html?corpKey=3574ABFD-86F3-50AB-5853-7F37D9CB1A36 
  • If you have any trouble registering, please go to the UNT VPN, type in the Libraries’ url then follow the steps above
  • After registering, you will receive an e-mail verifying your e-mail. You must verify within 24 hours or will need to reregister
  • For additional help with registering, please contact Erin.O'Toole@unt.edu.

Tips on Searching:

  • SciFinder automatically looks for synonyms, other word forms (typing freeze would result in freeze, frozen, freezing, froze etc.), abbreviations (typing chem. results in chemistry, chemical etc.) and includes British and American spellings (color would include color and colour)
  • Words may also be automatically truncated—adjustment may result in SciFinder looking for “adjust” and “adjusting,” etc.
  • Must enter a last name for an author search. SciFinder defaults to "Look for alternative spellings of the last name". For example, type “jone” and notice the variations that are retrieved 

Types of Searches:

  • There are three main categories to explore: references, substances, and reactions.
  • These categories appear at the top of the home screen of SciFinder Scholar after logging in
  • The default category is Explore References

Explore References:

  • This mode allows you to search for information by: research topic, author name, company name, document identifier, journal, patent, or tags.  Searching “Research Topic” is the default option when exploring references
  • Research Topic – Enter your search terms into the box.  You can also specify publication years, document types (books, biographies, journals, clinical trials, etc.), published language, author name, and company name
  • Author Name – You must enter at least the last name of the person.  Keep the checkbox checked to search for alternate spellings of the name
  • Company Name – Enter the name of a company which may be associated with the research
  • Document Identifier – Type in the documentation number.  This field will accept accession, document, patent, patent application, priority application, or PubMed ID numbers
  • Journal – Search by the journal name, volume, issue, or page number.  You can also search for title words or author name
  • Patent – You can search by patent number, assignee name, publication years, or inventor name (last name required)
  • Tags – This type of searching is determined by tags you or colleagues can associate with a reference.  For more help with this mode of searching, contact Beth Thomsett-Scott beth.thomsett-scott@unt.edu (Engineering) or Erin O'Toole erin.o'toole@unt.edu (Physical Sciences). 

Research Topic Searching:

  • Type in your search e.g. antibiotic residues in meat
  • The next screen provides a series of options which lets you decide how specific to be
  • You can select one or more by clicking in the box to the left of the desired choice
  • Choose the third option for this example
  • You can now view the citations or brief records, click Get References button at bottom left 

Refining or Analyzing Your Results:

  • On the right side of the results screen, you will see an option bar with tabs for Analysis and Refine
  • Analyzing the results sorts the results in particular ways. For example, you can see which journals had the most articles in your search or which authors are most frequently found in the results.  Use the dropdown menu to choose your method of Analyzing
  • Refine the search to reduce the number of results
  • Click on the Refine tab at the top right
  • This brings up a list which presents your options. Click on the language icon and click next to English. Press Refine. This will limit your results to English language articles
  • Repeat the procedure and chose Research Topic from the list of refinements
  • Type hamburger. This will limit your search to articles including the term hamburger
  • You can repeat the procedure until the number of results is manageable 

Navigating the Results:

  • The results list with have numbered results, the title of the result, the author, publication information, and then the abstract or summary of the result
  • Each result will have a checkbox to the left of its number.  You can select multiple results at once by clicking the checkbox to each result
  • Underneath each citation and abstract of results, there will be links (if available) which will display substances mentioned in the article, chemical reactions, citing references (those citing the current article), full text of the article, links to full text, comments and tags associated with the result
  • Click on the “Full Text” link underneath a result to retrieve the full text of the result
  • The full record varies but usually includes an abstract and descriptive terms
  • Use the indexing terms or abstract keywords to improve your search
  • Your search terms will appear in bold in the list of results, to allow you to see how often the terms appear in the citation and abstract information
  • Substance and registry information can be viewed by clicking on the link
  • Articles included in the reference list may also be viewed 

Full-Text Linking:

  • SciFinder has the capability to link to the full text of the article IF the Library has a subscription to the journal
  • Click on the “Link” icon to get the direct link to the reference.
  • If you don’t get a result, check the UNT Library Catalog (see Locating Articles below) 

Cited and Citing Reference Searching:

  • SciFinder allows cited reference searching—it provides a feature to see who has cited, or included, a specific article in their bibliography
  • Once you find an article of interest, click in the box next to it and press the Get Cited button (near the top of the page) to find articles that are included in the bibliography
  • Click the Get Citing button at the top of the page to find articles that include the selected article in the bibliography 

Indexed Substances/Reactions:

  • This lets you view any articles that index (use) the same substance or reactions as in your selected article(s)
  • Click on the Get Substances or Get Reactions button at the top of the screen 

Marking Results:

  • Click in the box to the left of the author's name to mark or select it for printing or saving 

Saving/Exporting Answer Sets:

  • An answer set is a set of references, substances, reactions, or commercial sources created as the result of a user search in SciFinder
  • When it is created, the answer set displays as the current answer set the Main view. The current answer set becomes a saved answer set when you “Save.”
  • Save your Answer Sets to keep a track of your searches, think of them like breadcrumb trails so you can replicate the search at another time
  • Once you have marked desired records, click on the “Save” link on the top right of the results list.
  • A box will pop up asking for a title and description
  • This will save your results to your Saved Answer Sets.  This is saving your results to your own account.
  • To save the results to your own computer, use the “Export” link
  • Enter the file name and the file type desired 

Keep Me Posted (Search and Citation alerts):

  • This option allows you to setup automatic retrieval of an executed search.  The database will run the search once per week and email you at the address provided in your user profile
  • To setup:  run the search you would like to be posted on.  This can be either a reference search for a particular topic, or Get Citing References from a particular article
  • At the end of your search (a results list for a topic search, or the Citing References page, etc.) click on the Create Keep Me Posted button at the top left of the page
  • A dialog box will come up, allowing you to give a title to your Keep Me Posted (KMP) search, give it a description, and will show you the executed search commands.  You can also set an expiration date, so the search will not be run after a particular date 

My Connections (Collaboration):

  • My Connections enables you to establish a collaborative network with your SciFinder colleagues. You can use My Connections to locate a colleague within your immediate site and invite them to establish a connection. If your invitation is accepted, the two of you can share comments and tags on articles and searches. Colleagues at your research site can also invite you to be part of their SciFinder connections
  • To setup:  click the My Connections option from the menu at the top right of the page
  • Invite – Click the Invite Colleagues to Connect button to search for connections by name.  This will send an invitation to their account on SciFinder Scholar.  When they accept, you will have a new colleague
  • At the My Connections page, you can invite more colleagues, delete current colleagues, or view sent/received invitations 

Printing Results:

  • Select the results you wish to print using the check boxes
  • Click the “Print” link near the top of the results list
  • Choose the format of the print, give it a title if desired, and select to include task history, tags, and comments
  • Hit the “Print” button
  • A print preview will come up, along with the Print dialog box.  Make your printing choices and select “Ok” 

Locating Articles (if not available full text through SciFinder):

  • You will need the entire source information to locate the article
  • If you don’t get a full text result, perform the search manually using BOTH the Journal Title and Title searches in the UNT catalog (remember to search by the name of the journal, not the article title or author)
  • If the journal is available online, there will be a connect to online or click here for online link in the catalog record. Journals that we have in print format are shelved alphabetically by title. Check the location to determine which UNT library holds the journal
  • For additional hints on finding journal articles, please call the Discovery Park (940-369-7200) or Willis (940-565-2413) Service Desks, or send an e-mail to erin.o'toole@unt.edu (Physical Sciences) or beth.thomsett-scott@unt.edu (Engineering). 


  • At the very top right of the SciFinder Scholar website, there is a link for Help, which takes you to an online help reference source
  • Very helpful book - Information Retrieval: SciFinder and SciFinder Scholar by Damon Ridley. Call # Z699.5.S3 R52. Two copies are available for circulating and one is kept at the Science and Technology Reference Desk 


  • After 20 minutes of idle time, SciFinder will automatically log you out (this includes time while you are exploring full text articles)

We hope this tutorial helps! Please contact us if we can help with SciFinder or any other science (Erin) or Engineering (Beth) questions. Have a safe and enjoyable time at UNT.


Beth and Erin



c. Beth Thomsett-Scott January 2016