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Veterinary - Research databases: Searching in Web of Science

Basic and advanced search in Web of Science

Basic Search

1. The default search options in Web of Science are Database: Web of Science Core Collection, search field: Topic, and timespan: all years (1900-present). To change any or all of these selections, click on the drop down menu for the field you wish to change.


2. To add more search fields, click the add row option below the search box. When the new row is added, select the operator that will join your search fields; the default operator is AND. Also, change the field type if needed; the default field type is Topic.


3. Default sort mode is descending publication date; use the sort bar at the top of the results to change sort to times cited, usage count, or relevance. Use the More dropdown menu to see other available sort options.


4. To refine search results, use the options in the Refine Results column to the left of the search results.


5. To save your search and receive search alerts for six months, click the Create Alert link above the Refine Results column. Within the Save Search and Create Search Alert box, select whether you want email updates and set how often you want updates and in what format.


Advanced Search

1. To conduct an advanced search, select the advanced search link above the search box.


2. Build your search using the field tag options and boolean operators listed to the right of the search box; restrict by language, document type, timespan, and Web of Science database using the drop down menus below the search box.


3. For examples of how to use field tags, click the more examples link or view the tutorial with the links above the search box.

Web of Science Search Tips

Web of Science advanced search

Saving your search and search alerts

Pinpoint results using Refine

Search Options

Web of Science searching allows the use of the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT, as well as the proximity operator NEAR.


Boolean operator AND

Use AND to include two or more search terms; results of these boolean searches will include all the search terms.  

Example: the search "patellar luxation" AND dogs will yield article results that contain both the phrase patellar luxation and the term dogs.


Boolean operator OR

Use OR to find results that include one or the other search term, as well as both search terms.

Example: the search inguinal hernia OR perineal hernia will yield article results that contain the terms inguinal hernia or the terms perineal hernia, as well as articles with all the terms.


Boolean operator NOT

Use NOT to exclude a term from your search results.

Example: the search umbilical hernia NOT dogs will yield article results with the terms umbilical hernia that do not contain the term dogs.


Boolean operator NEAR

The boolean proximity operator NEAR allows you to search for terms that are located near each other; the terms can appear in any order in the articles retrieved. Use the search NEAR/x to indicate the maximum number of words between your search terms. If you want to incorporate a phrase in a proximity search, put the phrase in quotations.

Example: the search rabies NEAR/5 rabbits will yield article results in which the terms rabies rabbits appear within five words of each other in the title or article abstract.


For more information, see the Web of Science Search Operators page.

Phrase searching

By placing quotation marks around a phrase, your search results will be limited to those results that include the exact phrase specified in the quotations. 

Including quotations in a phrase search will often yield fewer results.

Example: To find articles that include the specific phrase caprine arthritis encephalitis, use the search "caprine arthritis encephalitis".  Without quotations the search yields 790 results, with quotations, the search yields 724 results.



In Web of Science, apostrophes are not treated as searchable characters; they are treated as spaces. To find all variants of a term that includes an apostrophe, search the term with and without an apostrophe.

Example: the search Paget's OR Pagets yields results that include the term with or without an apostrophe.



Use parentheses to compound Boolean searches.

Example: the search (inguinal hernia OR perineal hernia) AND dogs yields article results with the terms inguinal hernia and/or perineal hernia that also include the term dogs.


For more information, see the Web of Science Search Rules page.


Asterisk *

Use an asterisk symbol (*) to represent any number of characters or no character.

Example: the search microb* yields results for the terms microbe, microbial, microbiota, microbiome, microbiologists, microbiology, etc. 


Question mark ?

Use a question mark symbol (?) to represent a single character.

Example: the search organi?ation yields results for the terms organization and organisation.


Dollar sign $

Use the dollar sign symbol ($) to represent no character or a single character.

Example: the search leuk$emia yields results for the terms leukemia and leukaemia.


For more information, see the Web of Science Wildcards page.

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