Web of Science – Advanced Search


Every content set available on the Web of Science platform has at least 2 search modes: Basic Search, which is the default page that displays when you select a database, and Advanced Search. Advanced Search allows you to access fields that are not available from the Basic Search page, and use them to perform searches that are more precise than those possible to perform from the Basic Search page. It also allows you to easily work with your search results in sets, and is the only place on the platform where you can combine results sets with the NOT operator. Lastly, Advanced Search provides you with a way to edit searches that you have previously run, regardless of where you initially performed your search. To enter a search from the Advanced page, you’ll need to use one or more field tags listed on the right-hand side of the screen. Field tags correspond to different search fields available in the content set you have selected to work in. Here in the Core Collection, I’m seeing all the fields that are available in menu format on the Basic search page, such as the Topic field, alongside additional fields only available here, such as ISSN number. Here in SciELO, the available field tags are different from the options we saw in the Core Collection. This is because each content set available on the Web of Science platform has its own, unique indexing classifications. So the options you see here will be dependent on the content set you have selected to search. In All Databases Advanced Search, only fields shared in common across all of the content sets on the platform can be searched. To start, let’s say I want to do a topic search in the Core Collection for papers on childhood obesity. I’ll type the code for the Topic field, TS, followed by an equals sign. I’ll then enter my search terms connected with the NEAR operator. Note that I’ve placed my search terms within a set of parentheses. Using parentheses is required when you search the topic field for more than one term. Once I press the button to execute my search, results are returned in a set at the bottom of the screen. To view the records, I’ll click the link in the Results column. Next, let’s say I want to view all of the papers in the Core Collection that were published in Nutrition journals. To do this, I’ll use the Web of Science Category field, which I see has a link to information about this field. Here, I’m being presented with a plain text list of all possible values for this field. Depending on which content set you have selected to search, and which field you select, the system may present you with a browse-able or searchable list of values at this point, or with a plain text list, like this one. To select a Category here, I’ll press Control-F to open my Internet browser’s “Find on this page” function. Typing the first few letters of my term, nutrition, will bring me to the Nutrition & Dietetics category. I’ll highlight the term, press Control-C to copy it, then move back to the Advanced Search page, and paste the category from the Help file using Control-V. Pressing search will then return a list of papers published in journals in the Nutrition category. There may be cases when you want to limit your search to a particular book or journal. If you know the ISSN or ISBN number of a publication, you can search for it by that number in the IS field. In this example, I’ll search for papers published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Using hyphens is optional in this field, and for books, both 13- and 10-digit ISBNs are searchable. The Advanced Search interface offers many different ways to combine search sets. If you want to combine two sets with the AND or OR operator, you can do so by marking the desired sets in the Combine column, and pressing combine. In this example, I want to find articles on childhood obesity published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and will combine the 2 relevant search sets I previously created with the AND operator. Note the search logic in our new set, which is using the set numbers of our previous searches. Another way to combine sets is to type the set numbers you want to work with directly into the search box. This is the only way you can combine sets using the NOT operator. For this example, I created two new sets: a topic search for articles about measles-mumps-rubella and autism, and an author search for papers by Andrew J Wakefield. I want to see papers about MMR and autism that were NOT written by Wakefield. To do this, I’ll type #5 NOT #6 into the interface. Most searches you perform in the Web of Science can be edited. Regardless of where you initially ran a search, pressing the Edit button will always feed you into the Advanced Search interface. Once you’ve made changes to your search statement, you can choose whether to create a new set, or overwrite the old one. Overwriting your old set is the default, and if this edit affects any other results sets you’ve created, the system will note which sets will be affected. When you run your edited search, all affected sets are highlighted in the search history.

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