Savant FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Daylight's Savant interface to Spresi.

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Why is there a special Spresi interface for synthetic literature?

The Spresi database is a comprehensive database of chemical literature and patents. It contains an enormous amount of information. One common use of Spresi is to review synthetic literature during synthesis planning. Although this can be done with general-purpose database systems, doing so requires a significant amount of knowledge about chemical information methodology, e.g., servers, database names, datatypes, datatrees, ambiguous cross-references, etc.

Savant is a special-purpose interface to the Spresi database which is designed to make access as simple as possible for synthetic chemists and other users who are not chemical information specialists.

Savant isn't unique in this respect: Daylight produces simplified interfaces for other databases also.

But why not for other kinds of chemical literature?

Why not, indeed. There is no reason that we shouldn't build Savant-like interfaces for other kinds of chemistry, e.g., analytical literature. Historically, synthetic literature was the wheel that squeaked loudest, so it got done first.

Why the name "Savant", is it an acronym for somthing?

No. It just means savant, as in the French savoir, to know. More specifically, as in idiot savant. There are a lot of very fancy synthesis planning tools which invoke sophisticated methods for examining known reaction mechanisms. Savant is very, very simple: it just knows about the structures referenced by a very large number of synthetic papers and shows the ones which describe the preparations of structures similar to the desired structure. Like an idiot savant, it remembers everything but understands nothing. (Even though we don't have a marketing department, we figured out that "savant" is probably a better product name than "idiot".)

Does Savant use the actual Spresi database?

Yes. Daylight also supplies a database called Spresipreps, which is like Spresi but which only contains synthetic literature and is much smaller than the whole thing. Savant can work with either the Spresi or Spresipreps database.

What can I look up?

You can look up a structure, specified in SMILES.

How can I draw in a structure (rather than typing SMILES)?

Your choice of an editor depends on the kind of machine on which you are working. This can be customized by editing the file.

Depictions on the reference pages are hot. Why bother?

Clicking on a depiction on a "synthetic references" page brings up the "Depict" (Interactive depiction of SMILES) page. Editing the SMILES on this page changes the picture but does not affect what data is shown when returning to Savant.

Invoking the Depict page is simply a way of providing the SMILES for any structure in a cut-and-paste-able form.

What languages correspond to the language preference choices?

"International" means "all languages". "American" means "English only". "European" means Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. "East Blok" includes all European languages plus Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Rumainan, Russian, Serbian, Slavik, Slovakian, and Ukranian. "Asian" includes English plus Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Mongolian.

There are, no doubt, other languages that fit into these categories: these are the languages which have chemical journals referenced in the Spresi database.

Why "American" rather than "English" language preferences?

American chemists, like most Americans, are generally monolingual and generally aren't interested in references to journals or patents which appear in languages other than English. English chemists, like most Europeans, are multilingual and are willing to look at references in some other European language, e.g., German or French. Savant therefore provides "American" and "European" language preference choices, but no "English" one.

The set of language preferences is purely pragmatic and is not intended to be a political statement nor to insult the many multilingual American chemists that exist (especially those from Canada, Central and South America, who are generally multilingual).

Why are "black-on-paper depictions" offered?

Depending on how your computer system is set up, color-on-black graphics may not show up well when printed to monochromatic printers. The "black-on-paper" option produces nice output with most browser/printer combinations.

Can I save specific Savant result pages as a bookmarks?

Yes. Most users save the initial Savant query page as a bookmark to allow convenient access to this interface. You can also add specific "synthetic reference" pages to your bookmark list which will be identified by the current (server) time and date. Savant's intermediate "search result" pages are form results and can not be saved as bookmarks.

Is Savant available online?

No. Our license with InfoChem allows online distribution for demonstration purposes only. Daylight can supply the Spresi database and the software to deliver it from your own server.

Where can I get more information?

For general information about Savant, the Spresi database and other Daylight products, click on the "Daylight Chemical Information Systems, Inc." Daylight Chemical Information Systems, Inc.