FIZ CHEMIE Search Engines also ply through the Web’s hidden secrets

October 7, 2003 by  

Berlin, October 2003 – With every new server appearing in the Internet, more information disappears into the so-called “deep”, or “hidden” Web. This concealed part of the Internet contains those Web pages which are not accessed, for whatever reason, by normal search engines. Quite often however, in scientific circles it is exactly those Web pages which contain the really interesting information from universities and research institutes. Germany’s “Chemistry Information Centre” (Fachinformationszentrum Chemie, FIZ CHEMIE Berlin) now has tools to tackle the problem of the hidden Web: its subject-specific Internet search engines “ChemGuide” (chemistry), “MedPharmGuide” (medicine and pharmacology) and “PublishersGuide” (scientific publishers). These powerful search engines access more than 7000 servers and thoroughly search these down to the last published page. All entry pages found by the “Guides” are evaluated by FIZ CHEMIE Berlin for their relevance. With a single search query in one of these engines, one can thus search thousands of servers with approximately 15 million Web pages.

Use of the search engines is free-of-charge. An extensive retrieval language is available for search queries. In addition to the usual Boolean operators, wildcards (‘*’,’?’) may be used and proximity searches are possible; the latter enabling users to search for terms in proximity to other search terms, whereby the distance between words can be varied as desired. In addition, search result lists may be coupled together with list logic thereby enabling, for example, results common to two lists to be listed in a third list. Searches may also be undertaken automatically, this being especially useful for the permanent monitoring of developments in one’s own research area or for complex search queries. In this case, the user sets up a so-called “SDI” (Selective Dissemination of Information), a search strategy which is carried out every time the database is updated and which informs the user only when relevant new hits to the search query are retrieved. For this type of Web surveillance, any search term may be used and in any desired combination: for example product or company names, chemical formulae, drug trade names, and so on. In order to be able to carry out an SDI it is necessary to first establish the starting situation at the time of setting up of the SDI by carrying out a retrospective search. These retrospective searches and the SDIs themselves are not free-of-charge and are offered as annual subscriptions.

The search engines are available at FIZ CHEMIE Berlin’s Web site “” by clicking “Databases”.


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