Chemical & Engineering News,
November 13, 1995

Copyright © 1995 by the American Chemical Society.

Web site makes debut for structure searches

What's on the World Wide Web changes almost from day to day. Just last week a new site showed up that provides chemists with a way to search a database of compounds by name or substructure and retrieve two-dimensional structures, three-dimensional models, and such information as molecular weight, formula, and Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number.

The site ( was put up by chemistry software developer CambridgeSoft Corp., Cambridge, Mass. ( ). CambridgeSoft is the developer of the ChemDraw structure drawing program, Chem3D modeling program, and ChemFinder organizational software for chemical information.

For those compounds with materials safety data sheets (MSDS) on file at the University of Utah Gopher server (, a search of the CambridgeSoft site would provide links to that information. Structures exist on the CambridgeSoft server for all the organic compounds at the Utah Gopher site.

CambridgeSoft has mounted a hefty selection of the most common compounds - 2,500 in the main database and 1,200 in another, differently configured group provided by chemistry professor Robert G. Salomon of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. Structures are in ChemDraw format and models in Chem3D format. For users who don't have these programs for viewing, the company is making a version of ChemDraw called CS ChemDraw Net available for downloading. Although the program can print structures downloaded from the web, it cannot print structures modified by a user. It can, however, generate the SMILES (Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry System) strings needed for substructure searching. Similarly, a version of Chem3D, CS Chem3D Net, is available.

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