June 28, 2021

  • Updated
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Reference/Substance Advanced Search Query Builder

The previous advanced search pages for substances and references were replaced with an advanced query builder that is located on the home page. While viewing the home page and searching for substances or references, an option to Add Advanced Search Field is present.


Clicking the plus (+) icon or the text link adds a search field to the home page.


If both the general text search box is empty and a structure is not present in the editor, the Boolean option for the first field is inactive. However, if text or a structure is present, the Boolean option for the first search field is active. If only a structure is present, the Boolean option is limited to AND. If text is present in the general search box, then all three Boolean options (AND/OR/NOT) are available.


If the structure thumbnail is open and a search field is added, the thumbnail automatically closes, but can be reopened manually. The user can continue to add search fields (up to 49 total), which can be combined using Boolean operators.

The search field options for substances and references, respectively, are shown below.


The advanced search field categories with multiple search options have a submenu indicator (>), which can be clicked to display additional search fields.


If the general search box is populated, a structure is present, and an advanced search field is included, the following search logic is used:

(general search text) AND/OR/NOT (advanced search fields including Boolean operators) AND structure

As Drawn/Substructure/Similarity Structure Match options are still available in the result set as appropriate when using the query builder with a structure present.

For a simple example, the following reference query will search for references that contain the phrase total synthesis AND the concept macrolactonization AND have taxol (the structure drawn) indexed as a substance.


This particular query will return 10 references in which the phrase is highlighted in the title and abstract; the concept will be highlighted in the reference detail accordion; and the hit structure will be highlighted and promoted in the Substances section of Result Detail pages.

Additionally, as a result of the query builder, substance searching is no longer limited to text in the general text box or a structure and the warning about substance searches with both present was removed. For example, a search can now be conducted to look for substances whose name starts with benz and contain a lactone substructure by searching for "benz*" in the general text box and the lactone structure in the editor.

Advanced searches can be rerun or edited from the search history. The ability to edit advanced queries from the result set will be added in the near future.

Download Task History When Zero Results Are Returned

If a search returns zero results, the user is now provided options to Download Task History (in PDF format) and Save your Search so an alert can be set up.


Additionally, the same options are provided to the user if the result set is reduced to zero through filtering such as a substance "search within."


Download Task History is available for the following search types:

  • Substances
  • Reactions
  • References
  • Suppliers (no Save your Search option)

Query Analysis System (QAS)

The QAS will now classify certain queries to enhance the ability to recognize certain query types and limit the results accordingly. It will also expand the ability to recognize and search document identifiers, providing some flexibility in the format of the identifier.


If the system determines a query is the title of a reference, it will limit the results to references with that specific title rather than ORing the terms together and potentially returning a very large answer set.

For example, the query below now returns a single journal article with that title. Previously, that query would have resulted in 313K reference results.

Phytoremediation of Alkylated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in a Crude Oil-Contaminated Soil

Additionally, the user is provided the option to rerun the query as a general search and to optionally provide feedback about whether or not their query was correctly interpreted.


Document Identifiers

The ability to recognize and search for DOIs, ANs, and CANs was enhanced, and document identifier queries that also include prefixes, such as https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.joc.1c00231, are now searchable through a basic reference search.

Redesign Markush Results Display

The Markush results set display was enhanced to include the following additional information:

  • Patent Title
  • Inventor(s)
  • Patent Office
  • Patent Number
  • Language
  • Database
  • Assignee(s)


Reference Autosuggestion Improvements

Reference autosuggested search terms are now limited to indexed substance names, CAS concepts, MeSH terms, and MEDLINE Supplementary concepts. In the case that a typed term/phrase is both a substance name and a concept (e.g., water), the autosuggestions are deduplicated.