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Getting the Most Out of Web of Science

Basic Search

The default search is set to All Fields.  Sometimes All Fields search is too broad, as it will also search information like author addresses, leading to unexpected results. By selecting Topic from the drop down menu, you can search the title, abstract, author keywords and Keywords Plus. You can also change the Index Date.

The default search is the Web of Science Core Collection. You can search other databases*, or all databases. Hover over the database for a description.

*UH Manoa currently subscribes to the following databases in Web of Science: Web of Science Core Collection, Biological Abstracts, FSTA the food science resource, KCI Korean Journal Database, Medline, Russian Science Citation Index, SciELO Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

You can rearrange the order of your results. The default is set to sort by Relevance. You can change this by selecting the drop down menu to the right of the Export button.

Sorting by Citations: highest first, can be very useful for finding the most well known articles in a topic.


Refine Results

On the left sidebar of your results, you can find options to refine your results:

You can select from many options, and scroll down the page to find a link to refine by even more options:

Find Full Text

To find the full text of an article, click on the  button located beneath the article in your results page.

You will be directed to another page within Hamilton library's system showing a source record for that result. This source record will show you if Hamilton library holds that item in its physical collection, if it is in an online journal we subscribe to, or if it is online in another form. You may also need to do an Interlibrary Loan.

In some cases, UH Manoa may not provide access to the resource. In these cases, you can request the resource through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Open Access

To find Open Access articles, which means articles you can access without needing to pay for them, and without your institution needing to pay a subscription for access, navigate to the left-side panel to refine your results by selecting either the Open Access option in the Quick Filters box or using the Open Access tab, which provides even further options to refine for open access articles by type.

Using the Open Access tab, you can narrow your results further by selecting different types of Open Access. Gold means the resource is identified as having a Creative Commons license in a database with no paywall. Gold Hybrid refers to a resource identified as having a Creative Commons license but is found in a journal not listed as Gold. Free to Read refers to resources that are free to read or public access articles on a publisher's website. Green Published are resources that are final published versions hosted on an institutional repository or subject based repository. Green Accepted refers to a peer reviewed and final resource but might not have been copy-edited. Green Submitted are manuscripts submitted for publication but may not be peer reviewed. For more information you can look at the Web of Science Help section on Open Access.

You can also see if an article is Open Access if it contains a link that says Free Full Text from Publisher.

Search Tips

The Basics

  • You can use Boolean Operators to refine your search: AND includes both or all words you are searching, OR will include results with either word, but not necessarily both words, and NOT will exclude articles with that word.
    • Boolean Proximity search can help you find specific words that are NEAR each other.
    • Parentheses can be used in Boolean search expressions to override the search operator precedence.
  • Wildcards can also help refine your search by including other possible variations of the words in your search. They represent unknown characters or letters in a word.
  • "Phrase Searching" is searching for exact phrases by including them in "quotation marks."

You can also check out the Web of Science Core Collection Search Rules HelpThis page is straight from the Web of Science and provides examples and explanations for how to use these search tools in the Web of Science.

AND can be used to include two or more search terms. Results will include both search terms. For example, if you search climate change AND global warming, results will include results of items that contain both climate change and global warming.

OR can be used to find results with one or the other search terms. For example, if you search for climate change OR global warming, results will include results of items that contain only climate change, only global warming, or both climate change and global warming.

NOT will exclude a search term from your results. For example, if you search for climate change NOT global warming, then your results will include items that contain climate change, and no articles that contain global warming.

NEAR is a proximity operator you can use to indicate that you want words that are near each other. In Web of Science you can narrow the search by writing NEAR/x to indicate how many words are between the search term words. For example, "climate change" NEAR/8 ocean will yield results that contain the phrase "climate change" within 8 words of the word "ocean." In Web of Science you cannot use an AND operator with the NEAR operator, but you can include "phrase searching" by putting quotations around the exact phrase you want to include in your search.

SAME is a limiter you can only use in the Address field of Web of Science, and it will include both addresses in the search results.

You can check out our LibGuide on Boolean Operators for more help or you can go directly to the Web of Science Search Operators Help page.

The asterisk * can be used in place of a character or letter when any number of characters or letters, or no character, might be in its place.

  • cha*ing matches characterizing, chasing, or changing
  • rede* matches redefine, redesign, or redemption
  • kel*man* would include Kellermann, Kelman, or Kelerman in Author search.

Using a question mark ? will represent a single character. For example wom?n matches woman or women.

The dollar sign $ represents a single character or no characters. The dollar sign is often used to search for different spellings of the same word. Searching with the word humo$r retrieves both humor and humour, which are the American and British spellings of the same word.

The Web of Science Core Collection Wildcards Help page is straight from the source and also provides examples and explanations for how to use wildcards in the Web of Science.

Using "quotations" around phrases in your search will yield results with those specific phrases. For example, if you want to find articles with the specific phrase "climate change" putting quotations around this phrase will yield those results.

This can narrow your results in combination with other Boolean operators. For example, searching for climate change AND ocean yields 515 results while searching for "climate change" AND ocean yields 372 results.

The Web of Science Search Rules page contains information on phrase searching with examples and explanations specific to the Web of Science.

Search Tips from the Source!

Refine Results Tutorial

Open Access in Web of Science