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Library Research Guides

Web of Science Core Collection

Describes how to access and to search the Web of Science database.

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Karen A. Reiman-Sendi
The University of Michigan
208-A Hatcher Graduate Library North
913 S. University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190

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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 Expanded
  • Social Science Citation Index
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index
  • Conference Proceedings Citation Index
  • Book Citation Index
  • Emerging Sources Citation Index (2015-present)
  • Current Chemical Reactions (1985-present)

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.

[Note: the publisher has provided a "quick reference guide" for easy reference.]

General Search in Web of Science (WOS): Author

Tips for some frequently used search fields are below. Use the drop-down menu to change the search fields.

Basic Search screen with pull-down menu displayed


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 (use this form if you are certain the author consistently publishes with both initials)

da Silva B* OR Dasilva B* (for variant spellings)

Other examples of variant spelling searching:
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 or NASA), 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.


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 (e.g. univ michigan or jet prop lab). Due to variations in citations for institution names, use the Abbreviations List for help in formulating an institution name.


NOTE: You can use a guided author search by clicking on the Author Search Tool. You will need to specify the author's name, research domain, and organizational affiliation.


Other General Searches


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; NOT and OR can be used to indicate relationships between words as well.

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.

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. Each search you have done is assigned a set number. Select any combination using AND or OR. Your choice will yield a new set. Click on the Results number to view the records.