How to Chemicalize any website

The semantic web is slowly but surely emerging from academia and offering useful ways to handle data, let’s hope they don’t start calling it Web 3.0 though, eh? could be seen as one way in which chemists might benefit from the semantic web, paste in text, structures, or a web address and it will send back the whole gamut of chemical information about the compounds mention in the text. Once I’d started using Chemicalize, I quickly realised that it would be neat to be able to Chemicalize any web page from my browser address bar.

Firefox users will be well aware that their browser has “smart keywords”. Smart keywords are simple way to search specific websites directly from the Firefox address bar. Instead of going to the targeted website, finding the search box, and running a search, you can search the given website from the address bar directly. To set this up you do have to visit the site in question once. You right-click the search box and save the link as a keyword by choosing “Add a keyword for this search”. Then when you type that keyword followed by a space and your search string into your address bar, and hit return, your browser runs the search.

For example, right-click the Google search box in the Reactive Reports sidebar to add the search to your favorites as a keyword, call it RR for instance. Now, type “RR” followed by a space and some text e.g. “carbon” (all without the quotes) and hit return. The browser carries out the search and returns a list of articles that mention “carbon”.

I use this function for a whole range of sites, but figured that it could be used quite neatly to render any web page as a Chemicalized web page. You can manually Chemicalize any page simply by adding the following string before the full URL for the page in question.



When viewed in a standard browser, that Chemicalized page will reveal structures and information about any chemicals mentioned in the page. Of course, this is a trivial example, but what about a page from JACS or a PubChem page, or perhaps even a ChemSpider results page? The possibilities are much more diverse and useful than my example might suggest.

So, first bookmark the Chemicalizing URL, “%s” will be replaced by the URL of the page you wish to Chemicalize.

Now, give the bookmark the keyword “chem”

Finally, test it out, put “chem” in the address bar, hit return, and let your browser and Chemicalize do the rest.

Author: David Bradley

Post by David Bradley Science Writer. You can get in touch with David via email or check out his CV on the site.