Finding Chemical Information

This list was created for the Chemical Literature course offered by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Chemistry Department and updated July 2014.

The Web, Chemical Information and Search Engines

The searching the via a search engine is web is a fast and easy way to get valuable information fast, but beware, because what is easy is not always correct.

Traditionally, when scientific information is published, it is reviewed by other scientists knowledgeable in that field. This process helps to insure the accuracy of the information. However, when one searches the internet, the material that is good science done correctly and accepted by the scientific community via the peer review process gets mixed up with poorly done academic science, high school projects in science, fourth grade science fair projects, and occasionally intentionally misleading information.

It is a mixed bag so you have to pay attention to your source. It is best only to use material that is referenced back to the traditional literature.

Note that the internet/web is a constantly changing medium and that what we do here may be gone in six months. Information may still be out there, just in a different location.

UTC Lupton Library

Libraries, Organizations, and Scientific Societies

Finding Chemical Information

Articles from Chemical and Medical Journals

  • American Chemical Society Journals: Computers in the chemistry department have access to journal articles online. This is a very powerful tool.
  • Chemistry Research Database: See UTC Lupton Library above for more information.
  • Google Scholar: Select Advanced Scholar Search and then you can select subject area, year range, keywords, and keyword location. This is a free and powerful tool that sometimes allows access to full article.
  • Journal Abbreviations: University of California, Berkeley Library website listing abbreviations for chemical and biological journals.
  • Medscape: This requires a registration, but all info is free. This site has reprints of high-quality articles from prestigious medical journals and is especially good for looking up background information on medical issues.
  • SciFinder is the most complete method of searching the primary chemical literature. Register first at and see SciFinder “Register Here First” option. Then return to to use SciFinder Scholar after ID and password registration is complete.

Scientific Biographies

Databases of Chemical Compounds and Spectra

  • Aldrich Catalog: This site provides chemical information for Sigma-Aldrich products.
  • American Elements: This site contains a convenient Periodic Table with information on elements and other materials from the website of an Advanced Materials Company.
  • BRENDA: The Comprehensive Enzyme Information System: BRENDA is a freely available collection of enzyme functional data.
  • Chemistry Abstracts on the Web: STN Easy is an easy online version of the Chemistry Abstracts service that can access any abstract in the database. (This requires a password and our UTC Chemistry academic license is limited to use after 5 pm).
  • ChemSpider: ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database providing text and structure search access to over 26 million structures from hundreds of data sources.
  • Common Chemistry: Site gives free CAS information for over 7,900 compounds.
  • DIPPR: This site contains physical information and experimental data on over 1800 pure chemicals; it requires registration, but not payment.
  • E-Molecules: This site helps search for commercial sources of chemicals.
  • Grateful Med/Medline: This is a free medical database from the National Library of Medicine. Don't overlook this site for chemical information such as safety and analysis
  • IDES: The Plastics Web: The free basic package allows search of over 84,000 datasheets on plastics with literature links.
  • Ingenta: Ingentaconnect is a free method of searching for journal articles. Not as complete as CAS and only contains last decade of articles, but useful none the less. Also contains an excellent compilation of chemistry links.
  • Landolt-Börnstein Substance/Property Index: "160 000 organic and inorganic compounds are described by names, molecular structures, chemical abstract numbers and other identifiers."
  • NIST-National Institute of Standards WebBook: This is a huge compilation of information on chemical compounds including thermochemical data, IR spectra, mass spectra, UV/VIS spectra, chemical constants, and ionization energies.
  • Organic Chemistry Portal: This contains links to organic reactions, papers, books and resources.
  • Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases: This lists plants and chemicals with given biological activities. Even if you're not interested in the pharmacology, a list of major constituents of foods and botanicals can be quite handy for analytical chemists.
  • Protein Database (PDB): Site contains a database of the atomic coordinates of structurally characterized proteins.
  • PubChem: This provides substance information, compound structures, and bioactivity data for small molecules in three primary databases, PC substance, PC compound, and PC bioassay.
  • Reaxys: This Web-based compilation of 200 years of chemical information, journal articles and research is inspired by famous chemists Beilstein and Gmelin; it requires an annual paid license.
  • SDBS-Spectral Database System (need updated link): IR, 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, mass, and ESR spectra of organics are given and searchable by name, formula, Registry Number, NMR shifts, and IR and MS peaks.
  • Spectral Data for Organic Compounds: This database contains NMR, IR, Mass, and UV/VIS spectra.

Databases of Physical Properties

Legal and Regulatory Information

Safety and Hazardous Chemicals/Reactions

  • SIRI MSDS Index: This site provides Material Safety Data Sheets for hazardous chemicals.
  • TOXNET: “Databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases” are provided by this site including the Hazardous Substances Databank (HSDB) for peer-reviewed data.

Safety and MSDS information at


  • Canadian Intellectual Property Office: Canadian patent database allows searches in French or English. (It's best to do both, since patents can be submitted in either language and are not cross indexed.)
  • European Patent Office: This European Patent Office site has links to the patent offices of many countries, not just European ones. It also has links to other useful sites.
  • Japan Patent Office: There is a Lot of information in English, and a good search engine. Japanese abstracts are more detailed than those of English-speaking countries and include structural images. One drawback: the database lags about three months behind and is not updated with any regularity.
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): Search not just by terms, but also inventor name, company assigned, product class, patent number, and more.