December 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 21)
Strong Points: Clean web design, easy to search
Weak Points: None
Anybody who enjoys making pictures out of chemical structures will appreciate the cute, arachnid-like logo for chemspider.com (while purists will be quick to point out the impossible chemical bond configuration resulting from its design). Nevertheless, ChemSpider offers plenty of real chemical structures (sans whimsical features), and it is a must-see for anyone who spends their time thinking about chemical compounds. In the site’s own words, ChemSpider is, simply put, a “chemistry search engine.” With a focus on chemical structures, the site contains a large number of chemical compounds, complete with properties, names and synonyms, links to PubMed papers, and information about relevant patents. It is an ever-expanding database that currently provides more information for some chemicals over others, but for some chemical compounds there are additional descriptions, spectra, and images to be explored. ChemSpider ensnares a great deal of information in its web, and one could find oneself hanging around for quite some time.