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Getting the Most Out of Web of Science: Wildcards


Wildcards are symbols used in place of letters or words to help you broaden your search.  Here's how they work:

  • The asterisk (*) represents any group of characters, including no character. It is best for using with the root of your term.


 Hawaii* finds:  Hawaii  w*ter:  water
   Hawaii Island    wastewater
   Hawaiian    Walter
   Hawaiians, etc.    winter, etc.


  • The question mark (?) represents any single character. It is especially good for finding the American and British variation of your term.


 wom?m finds:  women  hydroly?e finds:  hydrolyze
   woman, etc.    hydrolyse
  • The dollar sign ($) represents zero or one character. It can find American and British variations or the plural form of your term.


 colo$r finds:  color  scholar$:  scholar
   colour    scholars, etc.


To find out more about this search technique in Web of Science, take a look at the help page about Wildcards.

Using Wildcards

Some tips for using wildcards in Web of Science:

  • When searching in the topic or title fields, a wildcard must be preceeded by at least three characters.

  • A wildcard can never be the first character in a search term.

  • Wildcards can't be used in the publication year field.

Combining Wildcards

You can also use more than one wildcard at a time.


 organi?tion* finds:  organization
   organisational, etc.