Jump to: Frequently Asked Questions
Beilstein Crossfire is a client-server system that provides campus
users access to the Beilstein organic chemistry database, which contains
structures and data for more than ten million carbon compounds and more than
ten million organic reactions. It is searchable by chemical
structure/substructure, property data, and identification information.
The client software used to access Beilstein is called Crossfire
Commander. You may obtain Commander free of charge via the link below.
Commander is also available on workstations in the Chemistry Library.
Use of Beilstein Crossfire outside the library is restricted to currently
enrolled students and currently appointed faculty and staff at the University
of Texas at Austin. Your computer must have a UT-Austin IP address.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where can I access Crossfire?
- The Crossfire client software, called Crossfire Commander, is installed
on workstations in the Library. The client is also free to install on your
computer, as long as you are connecting from a SIOC IP address.
- Where can I get the software?
- You can download the latest version via our download
- I can't get to the download page with my ID.
- Your ID may not have adequate permissions. Contact the Librarian for
- What operating systems does it run on?
- The latest version of Commander (7.1) is available for Windows XP and
- Is there a Mac version?
- No. The only Mac option is to run the Windows client under Parallels
Desktop for Mac or Mac's Boot Camp. Other
- I have the software installed, but I can't get it to connect.
- Initiate the login by clicking the Connect button. If this doesn't
result in a live connection to the server, there's probably a
configuration problem. Be sure that Group Name (Options menu), Login ID,
and password are entered into the software configuration. Contact the
Librarian if the problem persists.
- Do I need my own password?
- No, but you must configure the installation with the appropriate SIOC's
group name, userid, and password, which are provided on the Crossfire
information page. This information can then be saved in your software
so that you don't have to re-enter it every time you log in. When you
close the program, check the box that says "Automatically connect to
the current server for the next session".
- Can I access it from home?
- No. The Commander client connection can't be proxied, so you can't use
it via a third-party internet provider. You have to have a SIOC IP
- Why won't it launch the Structure Editor?
- Make sure that the default structure editor is set to "Crossfire
Structure Editor" under the Options/Structure Editor menu. This will
tell Commander to use its internal structure editor from then on. If you
would prefer to use ISISDraw, you can download this program free from MDL/Symyx
(registration required). You can also download Symyx Draw (formerly
MDL Draw) at the Commander
- Does Commander link to full text of journals?
- Version 7.1 offers a new feature where you enter a link resolver URL
during initial set-up. This allows the Full Text button next to a citation
in View Results to direct you to UT's in-house e-journal database, which
will determine whether we have electronic access to the article in
question. If we do, you can link right to it. If we don't, you'll get a
link to the Library Catalog to do an ISSN search for the printed journal.
These links don't always work perfectly, but they help. When prompted
during installation, enter this URL: http://sfx.lib.utexas.edu:9003/sfx_local
- What compounds does Beilstein cover?
- Beilstein covers compounds of carbon with the following elements:
Li Be B C N O F
Na Mg Si P S Cl
K Ca As Se Br
Rb Sr Te I
Excluded are organic compounds with other metallic elements; elemental and
inorganic carbon, CO, CO2, carbonic acid, carbides (which are covered in
Gmelin); peptides, and polymers.
- What journals does Beilstein cover?
- Beilstein currently excerpts 174 selected journals that contain research
in organic, medicinal, and biological chemistry. A list
of indexed journals is available from Beilstein. Beilstein's
literature coverage before 1980 was much more extensive, with over 2,000
journals plus patents being examined. In 1980 Beilstein stopped patent
coverage and dropped its journal coverage to only 80 titles, a number that
increased gradually thereafter.
- How often is the database updated?
- New records are added quarterly (four times a year).
- Does Beilstein cover patents?
- Not anymore. Beilstein included selected worldwide chemical patents from
about 1920 to 1980. Search SciFinder (Chemical Abstracts) for much more
complete chemical patent coverage.
- Does Beilstein contain CAS registry numbers?
- Records prior to 1994 contain RNs as chemical identifiers. Records added
since 1994 do not. The reason for this is a long-running licensing dispute
between CAS and Elsevier. Beilstein's own "registry number" (the
BRN) is not widely used and should not be confused with the CAS RN.
- Can I import Beilstein references into EndNote?
- Yes. (Beilstein/Gmelin citations do not include abstracts and often cite
only the specific page containing a particular data point, and not
starting and ending pages.
- Search for compound facts, structure or reactions.
- From each hit in results, view citations using "Get" drop
down and choosing "Get all related citations".
- Choose "Export Hits" and then "Procite/EndNote/Reference
Manager" and save as ascii text file.
- Open EndNote. Select your EndNote Library.
- Go to File/Import.
- Under "Import Data File," select the text file you just
- Under "Import Options" select "Reference Manager (RIS)"
- Click import and your references should import automatically.
- Should I search for organic compounds in SciFinder or Beilstein
- Both. SciFinder and Beilstein are complementary resources, and although
there is some overlap the two are quite different in the ways they scan
and index the literature, the ways they register compounds and index
reactions, and in the dates they cover. Beilstein is more useful for
obtaining physicochemical data, preparation/reaction references, and
especially for coverage of pre-1980 journal literature -- literature
references in Beilstein go back as far as the 18th century. SciFinder
is more useful for its very thorough coverage of the literature and
patents from 1967 forward and its comprehensive registration of all types
of chemical compounds and structures. CAS also scans far more journals
than Beilstein does now. For organic and medicinal chemists, it is always
advisable to search both databases for complete coverage of organic
compounds and reactions.
- Is there any reason to consult the printed
Beilstein Handbook anymore?
- For most purposes, no. However, the Beilstein database is not an exact
duplication of the Handbook. Pertinent data and references were extracted
from the print to create the electronic database. The Handbook entries,
while in highly abbreviated German, provide some textual descriptions of
synthetic chemistry that are not present in the online version.
Conversely, there is much information later added to the database that was
not included in the printed Handbook. The two formats are complementary
rather than identical, and for this reason the print Handbook remains in
the Chemistry Library.
- Do we have access to the Gmelin part of Crossfire?
- Yes, SIOC subscribe to the Gmelin (inorganic/organometallic) file. The
Library has the complete Gmelin
Handbook in print.
- Where does Beilstein come from?
- The database was originally created and maintained by the Beilstein
Institute in Germany, drawing the core data from the printed Handbook. The
Commander client interface was launched by MDL in the mid-1990s; Reed
Elsevier acquired MDL in 1997. In March 2007 Elsevier purchased the
Beilstein database outright from the Institute to merge with its MDL
subsidiary. Later in 2007 Elsevier sold MDL to Symyx Technologies Inc.,
but retained ownership of the Beilstein content. We currently access the
Beilstein data via the Minerva academic consortium hosted by the
University of Wisconsin under a license agreement with Elsevier, using the
legacy MDL Commander interface. This situation is not permanent and the
interface is subject to future change.
- Who pays for Beilstein Crossfire?
- The cost of this resource is shared by the University Libraries, the
Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Division of Medicinal
Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy.