provided by
provided by FIZ Karlsruhe

New on STN

March 2020

STN Database Updates continue as usual

March 2020

European Patent Office warns about possible delays in data delivery due to the Corona Crisis

March 2020

First 2020 Update to Emtree Now Available on STN(R)

Meet us at

Copyright Day 2020, 05.May, Frankfurt
PATINFO 2020, 17.-19.Jun, Ilmenau
The 2020 AI-SDV Conference,
05.-06.Oct, Nice

STN User Meetings

Munich, 20.05.2020

This website uses cookies. Matomo is used for the usage analysis. By continuing to use the website, you agree to this. If you object to the usage analysis or would like to learn more about cookies, please click on the privacy policy. Close

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This is a list of frequently asked questions. If you have questions not included in this list, please feel free to contact our Customer Service.


show / hide all

fold faq How to subscribe to STN International and how to set up an account?

STN is operated jointly by FIZ Karlsruhe, by CAS in North America, and by  the Japan Association for International Chemical Information (JAICI) in Tokyo. Before you are able to start searching STN databases you need to sign up a contract with STN International. We recommend to contact your nearest STN service center to become a customer of STN International.
Download the Agreement Form (English or German) and mail/fax it back to

FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur
Customer Service
Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen

Fax: +49 7247 808-136

You may also request a printed version of  the Agreement Form from the customer service. Please send an e-mail to service(at)fiz-karlsruhe(dot)de including your full address if you act as a private or business person. The same applies if you are working in an academic or publicly financed institution and if you are interested in various academic programs offering discount rates for specific databases of STN International. After your account has been set up you will receive a loginID, password, and informative user documentation.

fold faq How to get additional loginids?

With the opening of an STN Account, you will receive one loginid. You may order additional loginids. For each loginid you have to pay an opening fee. Total charges for searching under all loginids of one account will appear on one monthly invoice with details listed per loginid.
View the order form in English and German (PDF)

fold faq Which STN Interface is best for me?

Try our STN Interface Finder or our STN Interface Comparison Sheet

fold faq Advantages of using STN

You find a lot of “free” information when searching with Internet search engines like Google, Yahoo! and others. Many publishers offer bibliographic information and abstracts from their journal articles for free on their websites and also patent offices make their patent information available for free. – So, why to use the billable online service STN International?

As a neutral platform, STN provides global access to an integrated network of the most important and comprehensive sci-tech and patent databases from the world’s most respected producers. In addition, STN provides the largest repository of publicly available bio-sequence information. STN ties together published research information, journal literature, reports, patents, chemical structures, physical properties of substances, and other data into a tightly integrated system.

Documents in STN databases are intellectually indexed with controlled index terms and classified according to well-known classification systems. Searchable index terms and classification codes together with STN’s sophisticated retrieval features, allow for a much higher recall and precision of search results compared to free text searches. The search features are complemented by unique tools for analysis and visualization of search results and evaluation of full-text patent documents. The STN Full-Text Solution offers seamless access to the full-texts of all documents retrieved in STN databases, thus making STN a real one-stop-shop for searching patent and sci-tech information and access to the full-text documents.

If you need help with your search, experienced staff is available to provide expert assistance free of charge. We will be happy to answer your questions about STN command language, developing effective search strategies, database content topics, and much more. There are also a number of STN Representatives around the world that offer similar support and service in your language.

No “free” accessible information source can compete with STN with regard to comprehensiveness, efficiency, and service. If you need reliable information, turn to STN – it’s worth the price.

fold faq What are the terms and conditions?

View information about our terms and conditions in English and German (PDF).

fold faq What is the STN Retrieval Language and how can I use it?

The STN Retrieval Language is designed for fast and efficient information retrieval for all databases on STN. The STN Retrieval Language permits you to obtain the full benefit of many sophisticated features for searching chemical structures, full-text literature databases, numeric information, and traditional bibliographic databases on STN.

fold faq What kind of documentation is available?

Documentation and training material about databases and online searching can be found here

Connecting to STN

show / hide all

fold faq SSL-VPN Portal Troubleshooting Questionnaire
  1. Please describe the problem.
  2. Please provide screenshots of error messages/irregularities, of the status window of the Java Secure Application Manager, and the configuration of STNExpress.
  3. Does only one user have this problem or do several or all users face the same problem?
  4. Do you call up the SSL-VPN portal prior to logon with STNExpress or do you use the automatic call-up function for the SSL-VPN portal via STNExpress?
  5. Please specify your operating system platform and its current version.
    Example: Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2
  6. Which version of the Java environment is used?
    Example: Sun Java Runtime Environment 1.6.0_05
  7. Which proxy configuration of the Java environment is used?
    (“Start” → “Settings” → “Control Panel“ → “Java” → “Network Settings”
  8. Please specify type and version of the browser you are using.
    Example: Mozilla Firefox 2.0
  9. Which proxy configuration of your browser is used?
    (Mozilla Firefox: “Tools“ → “Options“ → “Advanced“ → “Network“ → “Settings“
    Internet Explorer: “Tools“ → “Internet Options“ → “Interfaces“ → “Settings“)
fold faq Internet Parameter Checker

Internet Parameter Checker

fold faq Connecting problems?

If you experience slow performance when connecting to STN via the Internet, please check the telecom lines from your site to STN Europe by using the "traceroute" command string. This shows you the route of your commands and our results on the net, the computers sites in between and the delay times.

fold faq Security of the Internet connections

All online services of STN Europe including STN Easy, STN on the Web and FIZ AutoDoc have the option to establish a "Secure Session" which uses the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology to encrypt the data transfer from and to the customer. It is the standard Internet protocol for secure communications. It is a connection-based protocol that uses encryption to offer authentication, integrity, and non-repudiation. By convention, Web pages that require an SSL connection start with https: instead of http.
We already offer 128 bit encryption for maximum security. Please make sure that your browser supports the 128 bit encryption mode.
To see details of the "certificate" and the encryption mode used, please establish a secure session and click on the lock sign in the status(bottom) line of your browser.
For more details on SSL, download of 128 bit encryption upgrade for your browser etc. please refer to the following links:

fold faq How to connect to STN International?

1. Access to STN International  PDF
2. Zugang zu STN International  PDF

fold faq Does STN International offer any communication software?

STN International offers STN Express for Windows 95/98/2000/XP/NT. STN Express provides a more user-friendly environment while also offering numerous new and enhanced features to support your searching needs.

fold faq What are the STN 'Hours of Operation'?

STN Files (via x-port) are available from Sunday at 07:00 AM  to Sunday at 4:00 CET for continuous  operation.
Due to maintenance each Sunday after the first Saturday in a  month operation will only be available from 12:00 (noon).
View chart

STN files (via academic program y-port) are available from Sunday at 07:00 AM  to Sunday at 4:00 a.m. CET for continuous  operation.
Due to maintenance each Sunday after the first Saturday in a  month operation will only be available from 12:00 (noon). 
View chart

STN files (via academic program z-port) may be accessed Monday through Friday from 02:00 to 14:00 CET,
Saturday from 12:00 a.m.  to Sunday 4:00 a.m. CET,
Sunday 7.00 a.m. to 0.00 p.m. CET.
View chart

CET=Central European Time


show / hide all

fold faq What are the main topics of STN databases?

More than 180 databases on STN International cover the key topics in Science and Technology worldwide. An overview is presented here. Many databases are grouped in clusters which allow easy multifile access. For more written general information, please e-mail to the STN Help Desk in Karlsruhe.

fold faq Where can I find more detailed information about specific databases?

If you are already a customer of STN, you will find detailed information about STN databases within the file STNGUIDE - free of charge. If you are no customer of STN, you can find information in the database summary sheets.

STN Image Brochure
Database Catalog

STN Patent Information
World Patent Index
Biosequence Information
A World of Biotechnology 

STN Retrieval Language

show / hide all

fold faq What is the STN retrieval language?

The STN Retrieval Language enables you to search STN using all traditional bibliographic access points: subject terms, titles, authors' names, and additional bibliographic information as provided in the databases. On STN, the STN Retrieval Language also enables you to crossfile search (take questions searched in one database and use them to search other databases). In some cases, you may use answers obtained in a search in one file, such as CAS Registry Numbers, as the search terms in another file. With crossfile searching, retyping of search terms is not necessary.
STN commands may be entered in a NOVICE or EXPERT version of the STN Retrieval Language. The NOVICE version must include at least the first four letters of the command and will prompt you for all information necessary to process the command. The EXPERT version usually includes three letters and, in some cases, one letter of the command and does not prompt you for additional information. In expert mode, defaults are automatically assumed. To override the default, enter the option in the same line as the EXPERT version of the command.

fold faq What are the basic commands?

This STN Quick Reference Card gives an overview about the basic commands.

fold faq Which operators can I use to tailor my search?

The logic operators AND and OR can be used to connect you search terms. To exclude search terms use the NOT operator. Moreover, the proximity operators (L), (P), (S), (A), (W) and (T) can be used for searching on STN. The exact specification may vary from database to database. Enter e.g. HELP (L) in any file to see the corresponding specification.

fold faq Which truncation symbols are used on STN?

Symbols which may be used for truncating search terms are the question mark (?), the number sign (#) and the exclamation mark (!). The question mark replaces zero to any number of characters at the beginning (in files with left truncation) or end of a term, the number sign replaces zero or one character at the end of a term, the exclamation mark replaces exactly one character within a term or at the end of a term.

fold faq What is the ‘Element Term’ field and what can I use it for?

Element Terms, a handy tool to search for materials
FIZ Karlsruhe/STN creates for a group of files the element term field (/ET) that allows to search for materials. The element term field is available in the following files:

CERAB Ceramic Abstracts 
COMPENDEX Ei COMPENDEX File (all fields of Engineering) 
EMA Engineered Materials Abstracts  
ENERGY International ENERGY file 
INIS International Nuclear Information System 
INSPEC Physics, Electronics, Computer & Control 
MATBUS Materials Business File 
METADEX Metals and Alloys 

The Element Terms field is a possibility for searching chemical substances. It is independent of INSPEC's chemical indexing.

A special computer program developed by FIZ Karlsruhe recognizes and analyses chemical formulas, material descriptions, alloys and systems as well as nuclear reactions and dopings and converts this information in a standardized form. This program was applied to the Title, the Abstract and the Supplementary Terms fields in sections A and B of the INSPEC file. (Sections C and D contain much less information relevant to specific chemical systems, but many acronyms, some of which might wrongly be interpreted as chemical formulas.) The resulting 'terms' are indexed in the field /ET. In order to avoid any confusion, terms are compared with a check list of allowed terms (chemical formulas). That means that e.g. CPU (abbreviation for the central processing unit of a computer) is not listed as a chemical formula.

The table of this text gives an overview how relevant text strings in title and abstract are indexed in the element terms field /ET. In addition, the following aspects should be mentioned:

All composition formulas, metals etc. can be searched with special characters, e.g., brackets, hyphen, as shown in the first line of each example in the table.
(Sometimes use of quotation marks is necessary; e.g. => S 'BE2+'/ET.)
Subscripts and superscripts are not especially marked but rather replaced by normal digits which appear on the same line as the rest of the formula, e.g. CaF2. In character strings not recognized as materials, indexes will be characterized by SUB or SUP.

The elements are cited in the order given in the original document, and also in alphabetical order with an asterisk (*) between the element terms. Exceptions of the alphabetical order: The element C is always located in the first, and the H always in the second position when C is present (Hill System Order), e.g., C*Au*Co*K.
When two or more than two metals or semimetals occur in the material description, this is considered a system and therefore indexed with sy, otherwise it is considered a compound and therefore indexed with cp. In case of systems, each element is indexed with sy, and the total number of elements in the systems is also indexed. This is extremely useful because SEARCH of alloys, e.g. with two metals does not lead to alloys with three and more metals too, as is the case in other information systems, e.g. Co sy 4.
Intermetallic compounds are indexed as systems as well as compounds.
Descriptions of Russian steels are converted to chemical symbols.
In solid state physics, dopings are separated from materials by a colon. In this case, the ET field also lists the information 'doped material' and 'doping'.
The sign for a target nucleus is t, an incident particle r (reactant), and f for the final nucleus in nuclear reactions.
Elementary particles with subscripts +, - or o are listed.
Positive ions are indexed with ip, negative ions with in, and isotopes with is.

fold faq Can I use a chemical structure to monitor patents?

Yes, you can use chemical structures to monitor patents, either by using the SMARTracker SDI in the CA files or by setting up an SDI in Derwents Chemical Resource within WPINDEX. For more details contact the helpdesk.

fold faq How to remove duplicates from several databases and not display answers which are already seen?

You can use the DUPLICATE REMOVE command for duplicate removal between multiple files. Be sure to “SET DUPORDER FILE” before executing the DUPLICATE command in order to group answers by database. More information about the DUPLICATE command can be found in the STN quick reference card: "DUPLICATE for identifying or removing duplicate records". Another possibility for patent documents -which circumvents the potentially incomplete removal of duplicates due to different basic patents in WPINDEX and CA files - is the FSORT command. Use the DUPLICATE IDENTIFY command before executing FSORT, in order to combine your results in one L-number. After using FSORT the PFAM display command can be used to display one patent of each patent family. Find more information about this command in the corresponding STN quick reference card: "FSORT for grouping patent records into families".

fold faq How to limit search results to a certain time period?

You can limit your search by time in one of two ways. One way is to use RANGE, the other way is to use Publication Year (PY). Each are very effective in limiting retrievals by time. However, they are not equivalent and may yield slightly different results. RANGE is a reflection of when a record is added to a database. On the other hand, PY is an indication of when a document was originally published. When you use RANGE, you may pick up a few additional answers that were originally published during the previous year. Another difference between RANGE and PY is the time it takes for the search to run. RANGE takes less time to process than PY.
When do I use RANGE and when do I use PY?  As a rule of thumb, if you want to limit your search to 5 or more years, use RANGE. On the other hand, if you want to limit your search to just one year, use PY.

fold faq Can I search for citations on STN?

There are several ways for citation searching on STN. For citation analysis of patent literature use either the Patent Citation Index (PCI), INPADOCDB/INPAFAMDB or PATDPA. For citation searching in the non-patent literature you may use the Scisearch file corresponding to the Science Citation Index.

fold faq How to assign online costs to a cost center or a project number?

STN allows you to establish cost centers using the SET ACCOUNT command. To establish a Cost Center for your session, enter SET ACCOUNT followed by the cost center name at an arrow prompt (=>).  The setting takes effect at the next FILE command and remains in place until you issue another SET ACCOUNT command, a FILE COST=name command, or log off. (verschoben von unten)
When you establish a cost center, all online charges will be allocated to that cost center until you change or delete the cost center.  To remove Cost Center that you have set, enter SET ACCOUNT NONE. (verschoben von unten) You have the option of permanently establishing a cost center by including the word PERM on the same command line as SET ACCOUNT.
You also have the option of retrospectively assigning charges to a cost center by including the word BACK to the same command line as SET ACCOUNT.
If you want display your cost center charges after conducting an online search, use either DISPLAY COST BRIEF or DISPLAY COST FULL, not DIPLAY COST.
Any and all costs assigned to a cost center will appear on your STN invoice in the form of a Cost Center Summary and associated detail.

fold faq How to display online charges during a online session?

STN allows you to display cost information during an online session using the DISPLAY COST command.
In addition, STN will display a summary of your online charges upon logoff.
You have the ability to vary the degree of detail during an online session and/or upon logoff.  If you wish to see more than a summary of charges during your online session, enter DISPLAY COST BRIEF or DISPLAY COST FULL. BRIEF will display detailed charges for the current file session and summary charges for the entire session. FULL, on the other hand, will display detailed charges for the entire online session.
If you want to vary the amount of detail displayed upon logoff, or, toggle on/off the display of charges upon logoff, execute SET LCOST. The default setting is ON. You can also choose between OFF, BRIEF, or FULL.
Additional online help can be obtained by either executing HELP DISPLAY COST or HELP SET LCOST.
Lastly, STN Express allows you to capture online cost information and create detailed reports using a variety of sorting parameters. Find more information about these features in the section “Accounting” of the STN Express User Guide.

fold faq How to park or pause during an online session at minimal cost?

STN offers two options for parking or pausing your online session at minimal
expense. For instance, you can move into a free file such as STNGUIDE, or,
you can execute LOGOFF HOLD.
If you move into a free (or lower cost) file, keep in mind that STN has a 15
minute inactivity timeout. This means that if the system does not recognize
any interaction (i.e. a carriage return) within an 15 minute interval, the
system will automatically terminate your session.  If you log back on, you
will get a new session and all your previous work will be lost.
If you choose the LOGOFF HOLD (LOG H) option, STN will suspend your
online session for up to 120 minutes at no cost.  Simply logon again within
the 120 minute window and you can pick up where you left off. If you need
to review your session activity thus far, simply execute DIS HIS at an arrow


show / hide all

fold faq What type of STN training material is available?

Training Center

fold faq What kind of E-seminars does STN offer?


fold faq What kind of workshops / user meetings STN offer?

To sharpen your searching skills, attend the STN workshops designed for scientists and information specialists. Our expert instructors can visit your organization and conduct on-site training or you can come to one of the workshops held in your area or in conjunction with various user meetings. On user request we offer Inhouse seminars. These workshops have been developed to help you master the STN command language, structure searching, and word searching in various STN databases.

User meetings held at online conferences or specific dates enable customers to exchange experiences and information on new and important enhancements and developments.


show / hide all

fold faq STN Invoice Format

New format for STN invoice and reports beginning with the July 2004 invoice

STN is in the process of converting to a new billing system that will provide invoices and associated reports in a new format, beginning with the July 2004 invoice, which you will receive in early August 2004. The new billing system allows FIZ Karlsruhe to provide you with a more organized, easier to read STN invoice that contains highly requested information not available on the current STN invoice.
Enhancements include:

  • Better support of cost center billing/reporting for easier administrative tracking of charges by user
    • The Session Detail Report, that replaces the current paper Login ID Chronology, will be sent electronically. It will be in comma-delimited format for use in Microsoft Excel or Lotus Notes.
    • Adjustments, issued during the billing cycle, will be reflected in the Cost Center Summary Report allowing the adjustment to be applied to individual cost centers as opposes to the company as a whole.
    • A new Service Credit by Login ID Report will be provided.
  • Easier to read invoices
    • The Customer Account Number and Invoice Number will be easier to locate.
    • A new Adjustment Applied column will be added to reflect the price adjustments for corporate agreement pricing, subscriber databases, etc.
  • Flexibility, customization, and more electronic delivery options in the future
    • A single invoice will be provided for each unique bill-to address and contact person.
    • In the future, the new billing system will allow for exploration of custom invoice delivery.

Examples of the invoice and the Session Detail Report:

Session Detail Report

fold faq STN Invoice Example

Since July 2004 FIZ Karlsruhe sends the invoices for your usage of STN databases in a new format.

fold faq Conversion of *.csv files into Excel format

The Session Detail Report for your monthly STN invoice contains a detailed listing of your usage of STN databases. The Session Detail Report is compatible with Microsoft ® Excel and Lotus Notes and comes in .CSV (Comma Seperated Values) format. It can easily be transformed into an Excel file, see the following example.

The headers for the fields in Excel format are available.
You might copy theme there and transfer them into your Excel file.

In some cases, it may be necessary to manually convert "Comma Separated Values" files into Excel, using a few command sequences:

Open the csv file in Excel ("Datei - Öffnen" (File menu, "Open")), and select "Textdatei" ("text file") from the file type menu:


The data are now loaded into the A column of the excel chart:


Highlight the entire A column, and on the Data menue select "Text in Spalten..." ("text to columns"):


Now the text conversion assistant displays. Under ""Ursprünglicher Datentyp" ("original data type"), click "Getrennt" ("delimited"), and click "Weiter >" ("next")


In the next window, under delimiters, click to select the "Comma" check box, and set the text recognition character to inverted comma (generally, this is the default):


Click "Fertig stellen" ("finish"). The data should now be listed in separate columns in your Excel chart.


Session Detail Report in Microsoft Office Excel 2007

Open the file from the E-mail:
The data is transferred to an Excel sheet in the first column, mark this column:

Got to button Data:

And then to text in columns:

Mark the columns containing amounts and classify them as Text:

Then finalize the transfer.
Then mark the columns containing amounts in Excel, change the . to , and change the format to Numbers.

Document Ordering / Fulltext Delivery

show / hide all

fold faq STN Full-Text Solution - The perfect solution to your information needs

The STN Full-Text Solution (ChemPort/FIZ AutoDoc) can help you to access the full text of  a document while still online.
Through the STN Full-Text Solution you are seamlessly connected to publishers‘ sites, document suppliers,
aggregators, and patent information providers, and so access the full-text document of your interest. The
ChemPort/FIZ AutoDoc Connection links the electronic content of more than 370 publishers, providing
access to articles in more than 5450 journals.  This service is available via all STN interfaces: STN Express® with Discover!, STN® on the Web, STN Easy®,  STN Easy® for Intranets, and STN AnaVistTM.
For details please refer to:

fold faq FIZ AutoDoc - FIZ Karlsruhe's broker service for document delivery

is the perfect solution if you need journal articles, patent documents, reports, conference papers, proceedings or other publications.

FIZ AUTODOC brochure


fold faq What are the prices for FIZ AutoDoc?

View the price list in English or German for further information.

FIZ Karlsruhe’s Search Service

show / hide all

fold faq What are the prices for FIZ Karlsruhe’s Search Service?

View the price list in English or German for further information.

General Terms and Conditions for the search service

fold faq What does FIZ Karlsruhe's search service offer?

If you need topical sci-tech or patent information for business-critical decisions, research, or application procedures, but do not have access to the relevant sources or do not have the capacities to perform the searches yourself, you should contact FIZ Karlsruhe’s search service.

English Flyer

German Flyer


show / hide all

fold faq What are the costs of STN Online searching?

There is a fee for setting up an user account and providing loginid and password for you. Also an annual fee is charged, however not in the first year. Further costs are only due for actual online searching. Generally, the charges are split into connect hour fees, display fees and, in some specific databases, search term fees. For more information, please refer to Prices. There are Academic Programs for distinct databases offering a discount of up to 90% of the fullcosts. For specific information on that topic, please e-mail to the STN Help Desk in Karlsruhe.

fold faq What are the prices for STN Software Products?

The software products offered by STN (STN Express, STN AnaVist and STN Viewer) are free of charge. However, by using these charges occur.

fold faq What are the prices of the FIZ search service?

View the price list in English or German for further information.

fold faq What are the prices for FIZ AutoDoc?

View the price list in English or German for further information.