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CAS/STN Launches eScience Web Finder
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Posted On April 9, 2001
Recognizing that the open Web contains valuable material for scientists and researchers using its STN International commercial online service, Chemical Abstracts Service (http://www.cas.org), the American partner of STN, now offers a Web search tool called eScience (http://www.escience.org). At present, entering eScience opens up access to two popular search engines: Google, which scans its full Web listings, and ChemIndustry, a specialized search engine for chemistry. Searchers can also choose to access C&E News, The New York Times, Reuters, the Yellowbrix scientific daily news service, Biospace.com, ACS Publications, and CA Selects on the Web. Other science links include the new chemistry.org site from CAS's parent, the American Chemical Society. In the future, CAS hopes to add other sites of interest to its users. CAS has also integrated the eScience searching options with its STN Easy interface and hopes to have all the STN access routes so equipped by the end of the year, according to Christine McCue, manager of the STN product line.

The initial announcement of eScience emphasized the integrated access routes, encouraging users to start with an STN search and then, after receiving a results page, clicking on the icon ("Search the Web with eScience") that would take them to the eScience options. At that point, the same search strategy used to generate the STN result would slip seamlessly into an eScience search dialog box within a "baby" browser window. McCue told me that the process would remove any field tags applied in the original search (e.g., author, date, etc.). The search session within STN Easy would remain active, so that users could move back to re-view results or extend searching of STN databases. However, McCue assured me that STN Easy has no connect-time charging, so the user can move back and forth between eScience and STN International without worrying about invisible fees for "free" Web searching.

Searchers interested in doing their free Web searchingóbefore they start spending money on STN Internationalócan bookmark the eScience site and go there directly. At present, STN has links on the eScience site that take you to its service, but those connections do not transfer search strategies in the same way. McCue indicated that the integration of SciFinder and STN searching with eScience was part of the company's long-term future plans. Whether searchers enter eScience from STN Easy or directly, they might want to consider lengthier search statements or differently constructed strategies than those appropriate to the controlled and field-formatted databases on STN.

CAS's short-term plans focus on integrating eScience with SciFinder, SciFinder Scholar, and other STN products by the third or fourth quarter of this year. I asked McCue whether the new partnerships for eScience might include the GetInfo Web search engine for full-text science works under development by FIZ Karlsruhe, the German partner of STN International. When I researched the NewsBreak for this service ("FIZ Karlsruhe and TIB Hannover to Launch GetInfo Search Engine," http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbreader.asp?ArticleID=17680), the plan at the time was to launch it this month. Janis Mears, CAS's manager of marketing communication, told me that the deadline for a GetInfo launch had moved to the third quarter of this year. Until it sees something concrete from the German project, CAS did not want to commit, but it did say that it always wants to work with its partners.

The eScience Web outreach fits into CAS's and STN International's general policy of extending its service to scientists. Suzan A. Brown, CAS marketing director, stated: "CAS is resolved to deliver the most complete digital research environment for scientists. Scientists are using the ChemPort connection to link from CAS research services to full-text journals and patents. Now, with eScience they can access other types of related information on the Web at no additional charge." Based in Columbus, Ohio, CAS produces databases containing over 19 million abstracts of chemistry-related literature and patents, plus records for 18 million organic and inorganic substances and 12 million chemical sequences.


Barbara Quint is senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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