Help to shape the new CSD Sketcher

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Written by

Seth Wiggin

Posted on

October 21, 2020

We are delighted to announce the alpha release of a new CSD Sketcher as part of WebCSD, our online access to the CSD. Whilst you can continue to use the existing features of WebCSD for your research, we hope you’ll take the opportunity to try our new Sketcher and give us feedback on its future development.

Please note this is only on the public WebCSD at the moment - it will not display if you are using On-Site WebCSD internally to access your in-house structures.


Why are we building a new chemical sketcher?

The aim of the CSD Sketcher is to offer a chemical sketching tool which is specifically tailored for database searching. This means, for example, having all elements easily accessible for metal-organic or inorganic structures, as well as handling all the bond types found in the CSD.

Earlier this year we gathered information from you, our users (see Francesca’s blog), and from these results started work on a new sketcher that we ultimately hope to use throughout the suite of CSD software.

This showed that 33% of you using sketching programs work in metal-organics, and you mostly want to find out "Has this specific chemistry been found before?" and "Are there similar structures to my query?".


What makes this an alpha release?

In a software release cycle, an alpha release is the first release of software to users carried out before all the required features have been added. The aim of an alpha release is to check with users that the product is delivering what they need, and to gather feedback on the progress so far.

To help us with this, we have created a very quick survey for you to tell us what you think after you've tried it out.


CSD Sketcher alpha release

The new CSD Sketcher - try it here


It is important to stress that at this alpha stage the sketcher won’t do everything you want; it’s still a work in progress! We have, however, got to a stage with the development where we feel the sketcher will be able to provide you with meaningful results in many cases, and your feedback on the design will help us evolve the CSD Sketcher further. At this stage the CSD Sketcher is designed for Substructure searches in WebCSD, for Exact or Similarity searches we recommend you continue to use the existing Elemental sketcher.


Where can I try it?

Find the CSD Sketcher here - you'll be able to access the old and new versions to compare if you wish. Do complete the survey afterwards to tell us your thoughts.


We will continue to update you as the development of our new CSD Sketcher progresses, and look forward to hearing your feedback!


CSD Sketcher (3)

WebCSD (19)