• Robert Fugmann and co-workers at Farbwerke Hoechst, West Germany, develop Generic Retrieval by Magnetic Tape Storage (GREMAS), a high-performance fragmentation coding, storage, and retrieval system for low molecular weight organic compounds.


  • U.S. Patent Office and National Bureau of Standards develop the experimental HAYSTAQ (Have You Stored Answers to Questions) system using a Standards Electronic Automatic Computer (SEAC) for use in searching patent files, with particular focus on chemical information.


  • Ascher Opler (Dow Chemical Company) reports on the use of a light pen for graphical entry of chemical structures into a computer.



Using a light pen and computer to draw a chemical structure (1976). Photo courtesy of Chemical Abstracts Service.


  • U.S. National Science Foundation begins funding research and development on new information handling projects at CAS, then led by Dale B. Baker, director, who is soon joined by Fred A. Tate, director of the research department. These projects include the Chemical Registry and a comprehensive national computerized chemical information system. By 1974 this funding exceeds $23 million.
  • Institute for Scientific Information, formerly Eugene Garfield Associates, publishes first issues of Index Chemicus (briefly called Current Abstracts of Chemistry), a monthly alerting service to new chemical compounds and reactions. It features a computer-based molecular formula index constructed from chemical names.
  • CAS publishes first five monthly samples of Chemical Titles (CT ); bi-weekly issues begin in 1961. CT is first periodical to be organized, indexed, and composed almost completely by computer and to use Hans Peter Luhn’s KWIC method.


  • Based on earlier work done by Donald J. Gluck and colleagues at DuPont, CAS’s Harry L.Morgan, develops an algorithm to translate two-dimensional structural diagrams into a tabular form (or connection table) that can be manipulated and searched via computer. This algorithm becomes fundamental to the CAS Chemical Registry System.
  • Robert E. Maizell (Olin Corp.) and Charles N. Rice (Eli Lilly) begin using CAS tapes to produce in-house alerting service for chemists. Similar program is developed for students by Purdue University at about the same time.
  • ISI introduces the RotaForm Index as a molecular formula index for its Index Chemicus.


  • George E. Vladutz, a Soviet chemist, enunciates the basic idea for a computerized retrieval system for chemical reactions.
  • With funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Institute for Scientific Information publishes the first issue of Genetics Citation Index (GCI) and the prototype of Science Citation Index (SCI ), relying on computer indexing. While GCI is not continued, SCI is first offered commercially in 1964.
  • MEDLARS (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System), an off-line batch service, begins operation from the National Library of Medicine.
  • University of Sheffield Postgraduate School of Librarianship and Information Science is founded and two years later begins extensive research program in computerized retrieval methods for chemical and textual databases.


  • CAS inaugurates Experimental Chemical Registry System, assigning unique numbers to each new substance.
  • Meyer Mike Kessler, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, develops Technical Information Project (TIP), an experimental online searching system.
  • Douglas Engelbart develops the mouse as an input device. Used shortly thereafter for manipulation of chemical structures in input and searching at the Lister Hill Center of the National Institutes of Health.


  • Subsidized by grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Office of Science and Technology, CAS Chemical Registry System begins. At first the system is only available for use in-house at CAS.
  • CAS offers batch (off-line) access to users of the Chemical Titles file.
  • CAS provides online searching of its structure files for the National Cancer Institute.
  • Computer processing of CA is introduced on a rudimentary scale. CA indexes are running about 22 months behind the close of a volume period at this time.
  • Partially funded by National Institutes of Health, Chemical Biological Activities is introduced by CAS. It was published simultaneously in printed form and on computer tape and was the first computer-produced service to include full text, searchable, abstracts.
  • Imperial Chemical Industries in Great Britain begins work on a project named CROSSBOW (Computerized Retrieval of Organic Structures Based on Wiswesser).
  • CAS works with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Food and Drug Administration to develop computer-based substance identification techniques. NLM uses the CAS Registry techniques to develop the Chemical Dictionary Online (CHEMLINE) and Toxicology Information Online (TOXLINE) databases.
  • Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre is established by Olga Kennard in the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge University.


  • Chemical Society Research Unit in Information Dissemination and Retrieval is established at the University of Nottingham under the directorship of Anthony K. Kent. In 1969, it becomes the U.K. Chemical Information Service.


  • CAS introduces the hetero-atom-in-context system in its chemical formula index.


  • CA Condensates, an alerting service covering the full range of documents abstracted and indexed by CAS, commences. This is the first publicly available computer file to forthcoming issues of CA.


  • Elias J. Corey and W. Todd Wipke of Harvard University develop the OCSS-LHASA (Organic Chemical Synthesis Simulation-Logic and Heuristics Applied to Synthetic Analysis) synthesis planning system. Beginning with a molecular structure input by light pen or mouse, the system suggests starting materials and reactions to produce the molecule.
  • Japanese Information Center for Science and Technology begins online service of its database.
  • On an experimental basis, U.S. National Library of Medicine begins offering online access service, known as AIM-TWX (Abridged Index Medicus Accessed by Teletypewriter Exchange Service), to the MEDLARS database. Uses ORBIT software developed by System Development Corporation.
  • U.K. Consortium on Chemical Information, Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, and CAS form partnership to develop and operate a common, computerized information system for chemistry and chemical engineering.
  • U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) begins offering online search service RECON (remote console) to NASA facilities. Uses DIALOG software developed by Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation.


  • U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency announce the establishment of the Chemical Information System.
  • U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINE (Medical Literature Online) becomes operational.


  • Commercial online systems, ORBIT (System Development Corporation) and DIALOG (Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation), become available in the United States.
  • INPADOC (International Patent Documentation System) is founded by the World Intellectual Property Organization and the government of Austria. Later integrated into the European Patent Office.


  • CA Search, a file of CA references and indexing, is introduced and soon becomes the most widely used chemical database in the world.
  • CAS ONLINE becomes operational on a pilot basis.


  • Molecular Design Limited, a supplier of computer software for chemical and pharmaceutical companies, is founded by Stuart A. Marson, Steve Peacock, and W. Todd Wipke.


  • The ACS publication, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, is made available in full text on an experimental basis on the BRS (Bibliographic Retrieval Service) online system.


  • CA File, the most complete online equivalent of CA, is introduced.


  • CAS ONLINE is incorporated, along with non-CAS databases, into Scientific and Technical Network International, a joint operation of CAS, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, and Fachinformationzentrum Karlsruhe.
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry becomes first journal to ask authors to reference an electronic database, in this case of nucleotide sequences.


  • National Center for Biotechnology Information is founded to oversee the information components of the Human Genome Project.
  • Beilstein Online is made commercially available.


  • Tetrahedron Computer Methodology, edited by W. Todd Wipke, becomes the first journal published in electronic form only, available on floppy disks.


  • DIALOG Information Services files $150-million lawsuit against CAS, charging violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act for attempting to monopolize control of the chemical literature.
  • CAS responds to DIALOG lawsuit and counter sues for $30 million, charging DIALOG with breach of contract and fraud.


  • Gmelin Database is made commercially available.


  • DIALOG and CAS settle lawsuit and promise further cooperation; terms not disclosed.


  • Beilstein CrossFire, a user-friendly interface with the Beilstein database, is launched.


  • SciFinder, a client server for scientists, is marketed by CAS.
  • CAS Registry System records over 1 million new substances this year.


  • At the end of the year, the Registry file contains 17.2 million substances. The Registry database contains over 23 million names.