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Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: ChemSpider, Reaxys, Scifinder, PSDS

Library resources for Chemists

Resources to help with SciFinder-n, Reaxys, ChemSpider and PSDS

You must register to use SciFinder-n but it is a very quick and easy processFind out more at the Registration Guide

An excellent collection of training and support materials for SciFinder-n are available from CAS:

This introduction to SciFinder-n was delivered by Lee Walsh from CAS to University of Southampton Chemistry students in October 2022.

It covers the registration process, literature searching and chemical property searching.

This advanced session covering SciFinder-n was delivered by Lee Walsh from CAS to University of Southampton Chemistry postgraduate researchers in October 2022.

This session was run for University of Southampton postgraduate researchers in March 2023. If you have any questions, please contact us at

An excellent collection of training and support materials for Reaxys are available:


Quick Search

Learn how to search in  Quick Search for Literature, Substances, Reactions, and Properties.

Query Builder

Learn how to build a search and refine it in Reaxys using the Query builder.

Tip: Use the buttons on the right side of the screen to skip to another chapter or to return to the beginning of the video

Retrieving Scientific Information 

  • Search for scientific topic, substance, reaction, and property.
  • Look at details of search by editing Query Builder.
  • Use Document Basic index as it contains single terms in titles, abstracts, and index terms.

Search for Reactions by Text Terms

Learn about named reactions and search algorithms that includes Transform, Reagent/Catalyst, and Reaction Type.

Search Substances by Name

  • Enter names in Search Reaxys.
  • View results in substance records and document records.
  • In Query Builder, get the details on the search.

Search Physicochemical Properties of Substance

Learn how to:

  • Find property fields and subfields using Quick search. Results include substances and documents.
  • View the fields searched and the actual data

Use the Synthesis Planner

The Synthesis Planner allows you to create synthesis plans for known and unknown substances using the Reaxys reaction database. Learn how to:

  • Create Synthesis Plans Manually or use Autoplan
  • Work with Synthesis Plans

Create a Structure Drawing

Learn how to:

  • create a structure drawing from a scratch or a substance name.
  • copy and paste a structure drawing from an external structure editor to Reaxys Marvin JS
  • edit the structure by adding various query features
  • execute a search

Tip: Use the buttons on the right side of the screen to skip to another chapter or to return to the beginning of the video.

Exporting Your Results

Learn how to export data by choosing the output format, defining the range and export options and downloading the export.

ChemSpider (RSC) is a free chemical structure database providing fast text and structure search access to over 100 million structures from hundreds of data sources.

ChemSpider provide a collection of online help guides, including videos, to help you get started and search:

You can search ChemSpider by 

Chemical Names

  • Systematic names
  • Synonyms
  • Trade names
  • Database identifiers

Chemical Structure

  • Structure-based queries
  • Draw structures
  • Use files from your computer

Find Data

  • Literature references
  • Physical properties
  • Interactive spectra
  • Chemical suppliers


How to Perform a Name Search: 

Use the search box in the middle of the screen or in the upper right corner of the page, or go the More Searches menu and select Simple Search option.

The Physical Sciences Data-science Service (PSDS) is an EPSRC-funded National Research Facility provided by the University of Southampton, and Science and Technology Facilities Council. Its purpose is to provide a common access point to data resources within the Physical Sciences to all staff, students and other members of UK academic institutions.

The resources currently provided by the Service span the organic, inorganic and properties chemical landscape.

PSDS provide factsheets and video guides for the Cambridge Structural Database, ChASe (Chemical Availability Search), CrystalWorks, DETHERM, the Inorganic Crystal Structure Database and Propersea.