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BIOSIS Previews: Quick Guide

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About BIOSIS Previews

BIOSIS Previews includes over 18 million bibliographic records dating from 1926 to the present, with nearly 600,000 records added each year. Selective coverage includes nearly 6,000 peer-reviewed journals, as well as international meetings, conference reports, books, and patents. Areas of coverage include botany, ecology, zoology, microbiology, agriculture, biochemistry, biomedicine, bioengineering, health, sports medicine, experimental clinical medicine, and experimental veterinary medicine.

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Use the drop-down search menus and operators (AND, OR, NOT) to customize your search. Search by topic, author, journal title, institutional affiliation, major concepts, meeting information, document type, literature type or taxonomic information.


Enter your search words, joined by search operators (AND, OR, NOT, SAME). Automatic lemmatization will retrieve both U.S. and British spellings as well as some plurals (lemmatization is not applied to keywords in quotes). Be sure to include synonyms and employ truncation where appropriate. Use the Topic field to search within document titles, abstracts, and subject terms; choose Title from the drop-down search menu to restrict your search to document titles only.


There are two ways to search for authors; the Author Index and Author Search.

To use the Author Index, click the search aid icon Search aid icon to choose from a list of authors, editors, inventors, and corporate authors. This is the best way to find all forms of an author's name for the most comprehensive search.

  1. To find all articles by Francis Harry Compton Crick, click Search aid icon, enter Crick F in the search box, and click Move To.
  2. Click the Add buttons to add Crick F, Crick F H C, Crick Francis, Crick Francis C, and Crick Francis H C to your search. Click OK.
  3. Click Search to complete the search.

To use the Author Search, choose Author from the drop-down search menu and enter an author's last name and first initial, followed by an asterisk (*) wildcard. You may also enter last names without initials.

Publication Name

There are two ways to search for records from a specific source publication: the Publication Name Index Search aid icon and Publication Search.

Select Search aid icon to see a list of source titles, or choose Source Publication from the drop-down search menu. Enter a full or partial title with an asterisk (*) wildcard.


Records include the addresses of the primary authors provided with the source publication. Abbreviations and spellings vary, so use truncation (*) to find variants. For example, Univ* matches University, Universidad, and Univ. Use the SAME operator to search for two or more words in the same address.

Major Concepts

Major Concepts are broad subject areas covered in the source document. Click the search aid to select from a list of concepts.

Meeting Information

Meeting information includes the meeting title, location, sponsor, and date.

Document Type

The default search includes all document types. Some available document types include Article, Book Chapter, Meeting, Obituary, Patent, Technical Report, etc.

Literature Type

The default search includes all literature types. Some available literature types include: Bibliography, Editorial, Literature Review, Manual, Meeting Paper, Meeting Poster, Protocol, Retraction, Taxonomic Review, etc.

Taxonomic Data

Super Taxa are hierarchical taxonomic terms that refer to categories of organisms above the genus level. Click the search aid Search aid icon to browse the Super Taxa hierarchy.

Taxa Notes

Taxa Notes are common names of broad groups of organisms and microorganisms, as discussed in the source document by the author.

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Combining Searches

Use the Search History link to combine the results of your previous searches, using AND or OR, and to save your search history and set up automated search alerts.

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Truncation and Phrase Searching

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Refining Search Results

After performing your search, use the Refine Results menu on the Results page to filter your result set (up to 100,000 records) by major concepts, document types, literature types, year, or other criteria. To limit to review articles, click on Literature Types, then click the Literature Review checkbox.

Analyzing Search Results

Use the Analyze Results analyze results link on the right side of the Results page to produce a report ranking your search results by author, source title, year, address, or other criteria.

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Advanced Search

Advanced Search enables you to create complex search questions using field tags, search operators, and wildcards. It also allows you to combine previous searches using the NOT operator. Remember to include a number sign (#) before each search number.

Finding Full Text

Use the UC-eLinks button to:

UC-eLinks works best with post-1969 BIOSIS Previews citations; to locate the full text of pre-1969 citations, search for the full publication title in Melvyl or ask at the Bioscience Library Reference Desk.

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Printing, Saving, Emailing and Exporting

Use the check boxes beside each record on the Results page to select records for output. Then scroll to the bottom of the page to choose from the following output options:

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Customizing BIOSIS Previews

Register with ISI Web of Knowledge to save your search history and set up automated search alerts and citation alerts, which can be delivered by email or as an RSS feed. See Keeping Up to Date in the Biological Sciences for more information.

Getting Help

Click the Help link on any BIOSIS Previews page to get context-specific help, along with search tips and examples (opens in a new window or tab).


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