Tips and Tools

The JuLib eXtended information portal gives you access to the Central Library (ZB) collection and a wide range of scientific information from the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, materials science, and computer science, as well as technology and economics.

The subject-specific databases mentioned below can be accessed directly.
JuLib eXtended gives you an overview of all subject-specific databases provided by the ZB.

Tips for literature searching

Searching for printed and electronic literature in the ZB collection
Books & more
To search for media in the Central Library collection, use the 'Books & more' tab in JuLib eXtended.

Here you will find printed and electronic books, magazines, and other media that is located in the Central Library and the institutes. You can access electronic media directly from the Forschungszentrum Jülich IP range, while printed media will be sent to your institute. Media from the reading room and stacks can be borrowed on-site from the reading room at the ZB.

For details on 'Books & more' searches in JuLib eXtended, click here (in German)

Searching for articles - Initial overview
Article & more
From this tab, you can perform a global search for articles, book chapters, and books across subject-specific databases, publishing houses, and catalogues from other libraries.

If you would like to combine multiple keywords in your search query, you can build connections between them using operators or use the advanced search function.
Once in the search results view, you can download literature directly or request it from the ZB via the button.

For more details on 'Articles and more' searches in JuLib eXtended, click here (in German)

Systematic literature searching
In order for search results to be as complete as possible, you must pay particular attention to which information sources and search terms you select.
In the Databases by Subject Area section, you can use short descriptions and tutorials to find out which databases are suitable for your particular search.

Particularly high-quality information sources are marked with a ZB Tip icon.

If the search query is formulated using keywords, it is usually necessary to combine several search terms in order to obtain precise search results. For instructions on creating complex search queries and other search techniques, see the section on Tips for searching for literature in subject-specific databases
In some subject-specific databases, it is possible start a search by looking for materials, material systems, chemical compounds, reactions, and biosequences. Then, in a further step, the user can identify substance data, scientific articles, methods, protocols, and patents with a high level of accuracy. To find out how to conduct this kind of search, see the section on Subject-specific tools.

Tips for searching for literature in subject-specific databases

Obtaining the desired search results by combining keywords
Combine multiple keywords using operators, phrase searching, or wildcards. These allow you to control your search results in a targeted way.
Here is an example:
"protein folding" AND (protein AND structur* AND prediction*) AND (model* OR algorithm*)

Almost all databases offer this option, usually in the form of an advanced search feature. Please note that the operators and wildcards may differ depending on the database.
Here are some videos that explain how to create search queries:

  • PubMed / PubMed: Using the Advanced Search Builder

  • Reaxys / Using the Query Builder in Reaxys

  • Web of Science - Build Better Searches in Web of Science

  • Web of Science - Using the Advanced Search Query Builder

  • Finding additional relevant articles using controlled vocabulary
    Here are a few tips:
    Do you already know of any articles that are relevant to your subject? View one of these articles in a database and check its description to see which keywords are used for it. If you use subject-specific databases, these will provide you with suitably detailed search terms. Finally, create your search query using all the important keywords.

    Some databases provide an index of articles by subject area. The index terms are organized in hierarchical lists (thesaurus or taxonomy model). First, search through these lists for terms and then combine the terms in a search query that can be processed in the database.
  • PubMed (medicine and life sciences): Medical Subject Headings (MeSH Terms) - Use MeSH to Build a Better PubMed Query
  • Biosis Citation Index (life sciences): Lists of organisms and taxonomical data - Searching for Organisms in BIOSIS content
  • EconBiz - Virtuelle Fachbibliothek Wirtschaftswissenschaften: STW Thesaurus for Economics
  • TEMA Technik und Management: Thesaurus
  • Stay up to date with new literature
    When you have created a search query that delivers the information you need, you can save this query and set up email notifications for new articles, and specify how often you want to receive these notifications. These features will usually be called something like 'Alert', 'RSS', or 'Keep me posted'.
    You can also use the ZB Alert Service for some databases.

    Following citation trails
    The following multidisciplinary databases can be used to carry out citation searches or similarity searches. You can view the references from an article's bibliography, and see who has cited the article. Click again to view articles related to the topic.

  • Scopus / Cited Reference Searching in Scopus
  • Dimensions
    The Dimensions database also provides an abstract search function. Copy an abstract into the input field and select 'Abstract Search'. The abstract will be analysed automatically and similar articles will be displayed.
    Further information can be found at What is an Abstract Search
  • Web of Science

  • Discovering authors, institutions, funding bodies or trends in your subject area
    Use multidisciplinary databases as platforms for analysis:

    Subject-specific tools

    Searching for biosequences
    SciFindern database contains over 500 million biosequences from patent and non-patent literature. It supports the following search options:
  • BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool): ): BLAST similarity search for nucleic acids and proteins
  • CDR (Complementarity-Determining Region): Search for complementarity-determining regions of T-cell receptors and antibodies
  • Motif: Comparison of shorter sequences using placeholders and variability symbols

  • For more information, see the following:
  • Find Biosequences in SciFindern
  • Webinar Biosequence Searching in SciFindern

  • More tools:
  • Collection of protein databases in JuLib eXtended
  • Collection of gene databases in JuLib eXtended

  • Searching for substances and chemical structures
    SciFindern and Reaxys are chemical databases for substances, substance properties, reactions, and literature - information that is all interrelated.

    For example, you can start your search using the name of a chemical that you know. This name will take you to the CAS registry number of the substance you are looking for, which will in turn display a list of all other names that are used for the substance in scientific literature.

    Alternatively, you can start your search by drawing or uploading a chemical structure using a molecule editor. In addition to searching for the exact structure, you can also include substructures or run a similarity search.

    Substance search in SciFindern:
  • Substance Search Videos
  • Find Substances

  • Substance search in Reaxys:
  • Search for substances by name
  • Search for substances by structure
  • How to create a Structure Drawing in Reaxys

  • Searching for chemical reactions and types of reactions
    SciFindern and Reaxys contain extensive reaction databases that you can use to search for reactions.

    You can find information on these reactions, such as their catalysts, solvents, yield, and experimental procedures. There are a number of ways to search for reactions:
  • You can draw the reaction scheme using a molecule editor and then run the search.
  • You can start with a substance search and then choose to display all reactions in which the substance is present.

  • Reaction search in SciFindern:
  • Find Reactions
  • Reaction Searching

  • Reaction search in Reaxys:
  • Reaction by Name
  • Reaction by Structure

  • Searching for physical properties
    The following tools provide input forms that allow you to search directly for the physical properties of materials:

  • Springer Materials
    Comprehensive database on physical and chemical properties of materials from all areas of physics, chemistry, engineering, and materials science. In addition to keyword searches, you can search for elements and compounds using a periodic table and a structure search.

  • SpringerMaterials Tutorials

  • MatWeb - Material Property Data
    Material database with data sheets on polymers, metals, ceramic materials, semiconductors, etc.

  • ICSD - Inorganic crystal structure database

  • Nucleonica : Web Driven Nuclear Science
    Web portal developed for the worldwide nuclear science community

  • Materialsysteme
    MSI Eureka
    Phase Equilibria Diagrams Online (American Ceramics Society)
  • Analytical methods
    CAS Analytical Methods (registration required, access using SciFindern password)
    With CAS Analytical Methods, you can run targeted searches for analytical methods from scientific publications and patents, view them in detail, and compare them. Relevant information on the methods, such as materials, equipment used, process steps, validation, and the source information are displayed with a link to the full text of the article in question. Up to three methods can be selected and compared by means of an overview in a table or exported as an XLS or PDF file.

    For more information, see the following:
    Text tutorials and how-to videos

    Analytical Abstracts
    Analytical Abstracts is a literature alert service. You can create a personal profile on the database and receive email updates about new publications in the field of analytical science.

    The PubMed literature database (for biomedicine and life sciences) is based on a systematically organized biomedical keyword index (MeSH - Medical Subject Headings). These keywords are used to index the content of the articles in PubMed. These keywords make it possible to run searches for highly specific subjects in PubMed.

    How to run a search:
  • Start with a search in MeSH
  • Use a keyword search in MeSH to check whether there is a keyword for the method you are looking for.

    Searching for 'analytical chemistry method' in MeSH returns the following results:

  • To limit your search to methods, tick the 'methods' box under Subheadings.
  • Click on the 'Add to search builder' button in the right-hand column to generate a search query. Click on 'Search PubMed' to run a search in the PubMed database.
  • Once in PubMed, you can use keywords to narrow the search results down even more.

  • You can find more information on this at Search PubMed using the MeSH database

  • Collection of further databases in JuLib eXtended: Life sciences, laboratory protocols

    Synthetic methods
    Reaxys - Synthesis Planner
    You can use the Reaxys Synthesis Planner to determine synthesis pathways for compounds.
    Tutorial Synthesis Planner Workflow

    SciFindern - MethodsNow Synthesis (registration required, access using SciFindern password)
    MethodsNow Synthesis is integrated into the SciFindern database. Start with a reaction search. All the reactions that match your search query will be displayed in a list. In the left-hand column, under the heading 'Experimental Protocols', you will find the 'MethodsNow Synthesis' link. You can use this to limit the search results to reactions that have protocols. Details of the synthesis will then be displayed under 'Experimental Protocols'.
    Videotutorial MethodsNow

    SciFindern - Retrosynthesis Planning (registration required, access using SciFindern password)
    Using the retrosynthesis planning tool in SciFindern, you can plan chemical syntheses of more complex organic molecules. Start by using the molecule editor to draw the compound that will be synthesized and then select the 'Reactions' section. The substance will be shown in a small window. Begin the retrosynthesis by selecting 'Create Retrosynthesis Plan'.
    Videotutorial SciFindern Synthesis Planning Capability Overview

    CAS Formulus (registration required, access using SciFindern password)
    Search for formulations from patents and journals for oral drugs, herbicides, insecticides, flavourings, and odorants, etc.
    Tutorials Formulus Quick Start Guide und Usecase

    The PubMed database (biomedicine and life sciences) is based on a systematically organized biomedical keyword index (MeSH - Medical Subject Headings). The content of the articles in PubMed is indexed with these keywords (or 'descriptors'). These descriptors can be used for subject-based searches in PubMed.

    How to run a search:
  • Start with a search in MeSH and check whether there is a suitable descriptor for the method you have searched.

    Searching for 'synthetic chemistry techniques' in MeSH returns the following results:

  • To limit your search to methods, tick the 'methods' box under Subheadinges.
  • Click on the 'Add to search builder' button in the right-hand column to generate a search query. Click on 'Search PubMed' to run a search in the PubMed database.
  • Once in PubMed, you can use keywords to narrow the search results down even more.

  • You can find more information on this at Search PubMed using the MeSH database

  • Collection of further databases in JuLib eXtended: Life sciences, laboratory protocols