Content On Target

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CAS Chemical Abstracts Service | www.cas.orgContent Products: SciFinder, SciFinder Scholar, and STN | Vertical Market Served: Scientific-Technical-Medical | Pricing Structure: Subscription or task-based pricing (SciFinder); pricing by number of concurrent users (SciFinder Scholar); or pricing based on the database searched (STN) | Interviewed: Suzan Brown, VP, Marketing & Sales, and Eileen Shanbrom, Manager, CAS and Web Content

Describe the type of content you provide that serves this market: CAS' databases are a comprehensive resource of scientific literature, containing 23 million bibliographic records dating back to the beginning of the 20th century and more than 100 million citations. CAS includes patent records from 52 patent-granting authorities and analyzes some 9,000 currently published journals. The CAS Registry is the world's largest collection of chemical substance information.

Why this market? What special needs does it have that your content meets? As a division of the American Chemical Society, CAS was created to serve the needs of scientists. Virtually any scientific research project begins with a survey of previously disclosed investigations and findings. This groundwork is especially crucial in patenting activity, where the risk of duplicating someone else's work can waste research funds and rule out the possibility of patenting a substance, process, or other invention. CAS serves this need by monitoring, analyzing, indexing, and summarizing the world's published research and making it accessible electronically.

How is the content delivered? CAS products offer several technology platforms aimed at different user market segments. SciFinder and SciFinder Scholar are client-server products aimed at scientists; STN Express with Discover (PC desktop software) and STN on the Web are aimed at information professionals; STN Easy, also a Web service, is aimed at the more infrequent user of scientific information.

Any technological requirements or challenges involved in accessing or deploying this content for an individual or organization? Providing scientific information presents unique challenges, given its specialized technical content, growing volume, and the timeliness that users of this information require. The user community has changed over time, so SciFinder gives scientists an easy and effective way to explore information online as "part of the process" of their daily work.

Describe the importance of taxonomy to your offering: The CA Lexicon on STN maximizes the usefulness of the controlled vocabulary in the CA/CAplus files by integrating three intellectually developed hierarchies—taxonomy, subjects, and compound classes—delivered via thesaurus functionality. This resource is updated twice a year to reflect new trends, growth of fields, changes in terminology, and so on.

Describe a case in which your content helped a client: A researcher observes that a naturally occurring compound has been used as a traditional medicine to treat a tropical disease. After determining the molecular structure of this substance, the researcher suspects a certain substructure accounts for the beneficial effect and uses STN Express to match this substructure against millions of substance records in the CAS Registry database. Several substances are identified. The researcher then uses CAplus to explore the literature and patents to determine whether any of these substances have been used to treat the targeted disease.

What are the objectives and benefits of pursuing a vertical content offering rather than a more generalized one? CAS is an organization of scientists serving their fellow scientists. A generalized supermarket of databases cannot meet the special challenges of scientific information and deliver the needed quality, currency, and comprehensiveness. CAS can do so because serving scientists is its reason for being. Its literature and substance databases are unique, and no other information service has a staff approaching the depth and scientific expertise of the CAS scientists who build the databases.

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