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Library Research Guides

Web of Science Core Collection

Guide describes how to access and to search the Web of Science database.

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Karen A. Reiman-Sendi
The University of Michigan
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Powered by Clarivate, the Web of Science Core Collection database is a collection of several cross-searchable databases:

  • Science Citation Index
  • Social Science Citation Index
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index
  • Conference Proceedings Citation Index
  • Book Citation Index

You can search one or more of these databases from the Web of Science interface.

The benefits of searching this citation collection is that one can search for current and retrospective information successfully in over 12,000 multidisciplinary journals, 50,000 books, and over 160,000 conference proceedings. The Web of Science collection is particularly good for citation searching, that is, to discover how many times a particular author or article has been cited and by whom, and to locate later works which cite a specific article, allowing one to trace the development of a particular research path.

General Search in Web of Science (WOS)


WOS is not case sensitive. Keep search terms relatively simple (or try lots of synonyms!) because "topic" searching is not a true subject search. Your keywords are searched in the title, abstract and keyword fields only. AND is the implicit operator (connector) between words.


WOS contains the names of all authors associated with an article. The most common way to search for an author is to type in Last Name, First Initial followed by an asterisk (*). E.g. Smith J* 

The asterisk allows for all initials after the first one. WOS inputs an author's name exactly as it appears in the article. By inserting the asterisk, all variations of the author's name are included in the search. Some examples of how author names should appear in the search box are below:

Chomsky N (the system automatically adds the * after the first initial, so entering Chomsky N* is the same as Chomsky N)

Smith JA (if you are certain the author consistently publishes with both initials)

da Silva B* OR Dasilva B*

Variant spellings:
Schroder OR Schroeder

Zhuang J OR Zhang J

Two authors:
Volz Y* AND Lee F*

An alternative to typing in the author name is to use the Author Index located next to the search box.

Group Author

This refers to organizations or institutions as authors (e.g. World Health Organization), not to multiple individuals as authors. An alternative to typing the group author name is to search the Group Author Index located next to the search box.

Publication Name

The Publication Name search index refers to the journal title. While WOS allows for a full or truncated version of the title to be used, the most effective way to search for citations in a particular publication is to select a title from the Publication Name Index located next to the search box.


Enter an institution name, place name or zip code from the author's address to search for records based on publications made at that address. Use the Abbreviations List for help if necessary.

Combining Searches

You may create a new search by combining any number of previous searches. To do this, click on the Search History box located at the top of the screen. A new window will open with a list of all your searches. Each search you have done is assigned a set number. Select any combination. Your choice will yield a new set. Click on the Results number to view the records.

Search Results

After a search is run, WOS will display a list of records. The total number will appear near the top of the screen. To view any record, click on the title. Among other things, all records will show the article title, author(s), publication name, document type, an abstract, keywords, cited references, times cited, and related records.

Cited References refers to the author's bibliography. Times Cited refers to later citations of this article in other articles. Related Records displays articles that cite the same works or have a subject relationship with the original citation/record.