Deep Web Tech Blog

Unique Chem Safety Gateway Developed in Collaboration with Stanford University Libraries

Abe’s Note:

I and some of my staff have had the pleasure to work closely with Grace Baysinger, Head Librarian and

Photo credit: Kenneth Chan

Photo credit: Kenneth Chan

Bibliographer of the Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library at Stanford University, to develop a unique research gateway focused on chemical safety.

My relationship with Grace goes back two decades when I developed SciSearch@LANL, a precursor to Web of Science for Los Alamos National Laboratory and Grace was our customer representative at Stanford.

More recently we have worked closely with Grace on development of xSearch (Stanford’s name for Explorit Everywhere!, our largest federated search implementation.

I have asked Grace to give us an overview of this important chemical safety resource that we have developed together.


While chemists are one of the most intensive users of information, many are unfamiliar with chemical safety resources they should consult before working in the lab.   Chemists consulting materials safety data sheets or safety data sheets (MSDS/SDS) discover that they often have “NA” or not available for physical properties that they need for their lab work.

Grace’s goal in working with Deep Web Technologies was to develop a research gateway that provides access to a wide collection of information sources focused on chemical safety.  This gateway uses federated search technology, the ability to search multiple sources at one time, which helps users find the information they need more effectively and efficiently.  It is possible to view results visually, move to a particular resource in the search results, and to set up an alert to be notified when new information is published on a topic.   Common search terms include chemical name, CAS Registry Number, and searching topics using keywords.  If a resource contains InChI or SMILES values for a chemical substance, it may be used as a search term too.

Moving soon from prototype to production, the Stanford University version of the chem safety gateway will be a collaborative effort between the Stanford University Libraries and Stanford Environmental Health and Safety.   This gateway has 60+ information sources that includes SDS/MSDS, safety data, syntheses and reactions databases, citation databases, full-text eBooks and eJournals, plus a number of Health & Environmental Safety (EH&S) websites. While the SDS/MSDS and safety data resources formSample_Search_Results_Stanford-version the core of this collection, curated databases such as Organic Syntheses, Organic Reactions, Science of Synthesis, Merck Index, Reaxys, and the e-EROS (Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis) include protocols and safety information that is useful to bench chemists.  eBooks and eJournals are full-text searchable, allowing researchers to find property and safety information in handbooks and methods and protocols in journal articles.  EH&S websites from selected universities plus websites for the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety, and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will help users discover information such as training materials, standard operating procedures, and lessons learned.  Search results for a chemical name search also include the “Chemical Box” from Wikipedia in the right column.

At the ACS National Spring 2016 Meeting held in San Diego, Grace and colleagues from Stanford’s EH&S Unit  gave a presentation on Using a chemical inventory system to optimize safe laboratory research in a Division of Chemical Health and Safety symposium.  The first part of this presentation covers ChemTracker and the latter part (starting on slide 23) shows screen shots of the Stanford Chem Safety Gateway.  Slide 24 has a list of the resources being searched in the Stanford gateway.  For a current list of resources, please see Grace’s recent blog entry, Chemical safety resource gateway available.

Grace then helped the DWT team develop a public version of the Chem Safety Gateway that is available to test-drive at:

http://chemsafety.deepwebaccess.com

This public site searches a subset of the sources that are searched at the Stanford site as DWT is not able to search subscription sources through their public site.

Please test-drive the public version of the Explorit Everywhere! Chem Safety Gateway and give Abe feedback as to how useful it is to be able to search a broad set of chemical safety resources at the same time. Be sure to register (not required to search) to use the Alerts and MyLibrary features. Did you find that the gateway returned relevant results? What sources (subscription or public) would you add to make this gateway even better? Do you have any other suggestions for improving the gateway?

Please email your feedback to abe@deepwebtech.com