Quick Guide to Web of Science

Web of Science indexes over 5,300 of the leading science journals across 164 scientific disciplines within engineering, physical, and life sciences, and provides searching of cited references from 1900 to the present. It also includes the Arts & Humanities Citation Index and the Social Sciences Citation Index.


Web of Science launches into a basic search screen. The default search is all words, meaning it will automatically retrieve articles that contain all of your keywords anywhere within the record.

Enter your search terms as a topic search, or use the drop-down menu to change your search fields.

Add more fields to make complex searches.

Limit your search by publication date or database.

Search Operators (Booleans)

To override the default search, use Boolean operators. Enclose exact phrases in quotation marks (" "). Nest search operators inside parentheses.

AND finds records that contain both your search terms.
OR finds records that contain at least one of your search terms.
NOT finds records that contain your first search term but not your second.

Truncation Symbols

Use truncation symbols to find variant endings and spellings of your search terms.

* replaces an unlimited number of characters
irrigat* = irrigate, irrigates, irrigation

? replaces one character
gr?y = gray, grey

$ replaces zero or one character
cell$ = cell, cells, cello, but not cellophane

Author Searching

Web of Science allows you to find all articles by a particular author using their Author Search feature. Find author names by entering the last name first, followed by a space and up to five initials. For example, to find articles by Ronald Gronsky, enter gronsky r* and change the drop-down menu to Author.

To find authors with a compound name or a name containing particles, search both the fused and unfused versions of the name. For example, search for Lutgard De Jonghe as dejonghe l* OR de jonghe l*.

Search Results

Search results are displayed in reverse chronological order by default. Change the order by using the Sort By drop down menu on the top right of the screen. Sort up to 100,000 records by Latest Date, Times Cited, Relevance, Publication Year, Source Title, or First Author.

Refine your results by selecting subject areas, document types, Authors, Source Titles, Publication Years, Institutions, Languages, or Countries.

Look at the Times Cited link to see how many times an article has been cited by others.

Use the Full Text button to locate the text of an article, either online or in print.

Analyze your results to see patterns and trends.

Analyze Results

Using Analyze Results (located on the bottom left of the Results Screen), you can see which authors have published most prolifically or which institutions generate the most research in your topic. In our example, we've analyzed which subject areas occur the most frequently in our results set.

Select your criteria for ranking.

Select subject areas to view records.

Page owner: Lisa Ngo