Chemical Abstracts Service

CAS enhances chemistry databases, including the first English version of world’s oldest chemical journal, using Iconic language technology


Languages: German, and CJK

Volume: 800,000 documents, 3 million abstracts, ongoing

Content: Chemical information, journals, patents, articles

Formats: Physical books, PDF, XML, Images

Technologies: Custom Neural MT, OCR, Information extraction, Machine learning


CAS develops SciFinder®, the most trusted collection of chemical information used by leading pharmaceutical and chemical corporations to keep up to date on and leverage the latest advances in science. Chemisches Zentralblatt is the world’s oldest journal of German chemical abstracts from 1830 to 1969. Only available in German, the compendium was challenging to search. In 2016, CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, introduced a new solution, ChemZentTM, developed in partnership with Iconic, unlocking 3 million abstracts of valuable, historical scientific information in English.



It was difficult to explore and identify foundational chemical information in the original German hardback version of Chemisches Zentralblatt. Organisations were also missing access to the complete digital repository of the earliest chemistry history. To solve this, CAS turned to Iconic, tasking us with translation of the mammoth compendium from German into English for indexing and search, in addition to translation and parsing of ongoing chemical information emanating from China, Japan, and Korea.



Iconic developed innovative machine learning technology to extend its existing Machine Translation (MT) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) solutions for the large-scale digitisation, translation and indexing of 140 years’ worth of German journals and patents. Customising proprietary MT technology for historical chemical information with statistical and neural approaches, Iconic also developed NLP technologies for digitisation of 800,000 PDFs, and extraction and fielding of 3 million abstracts by author and title. Iconic’s expertise together with CAS industry-leading scientific information analysis made the launch of ChemZentTM possible within one year of idea inception. This foundational chemistry, as well as the most up to date information from Asia, is now searchable in English with summaries in English as well.



More that 1 billion words translated and indexed

English-language searchable versions of up to date chemical research, including world’s oldest chemistry abstracts journal, Chemisches Zentralblatt, available for first time in history.

CAS releases ChemZent™ in flagship SciFinder® product

CAS makes history by providing unparalleled discoverability of chemistry with the launch of ChemZent™ into its comprehensive database of information.

Fueling future scientific research innovation

The global scientific community can now search and find valuable foundational chemical information expected to fuel future scientific discoveries, pharmaceutical research, and drug development.


CAS is dedicated to the American Chemical Society vision of improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry. The CAS team of highly trained scientists find, collect, and organize all publicly disclosed substance information, creating the world’s most valuable collection of content that is vital to continued scientific innovation worldwide.



Iconic Translation Machines is a leading machine translation software and solutions provider who specialise in custom solutions tailored with subject matter expertise for specific industry sectors including legal, life sciences and financial services.



“Access to the historic collection of Chemisches Zentralblatt via ChemZent in SciFinder has opened this scientific resource to chemists the world over now searchable in English with summaries in English as well. The ability to do an exhaustive search that includes this important foundational chemistry makes information relevant to research more easily accessible.”

Dr. Matthew J. Toussant

Senior Vice President of Product and Content Development

Contact us  to get in touch today for more information on how Iconic machine translation solutions can benefit your business. We look forward to hearing from you.