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Web of Science: Using a Citation Database: Search Fields and Limits: Practice and Tips

Launch Web of Science

Web of Science can be accessed using the link below.  This link, along with the links to Web of Science on the library homepage and the databases page, allow users to access the resource from both on- and off-campus.

General Search Screen

By default the Basic Search option displays when you access Web of Science.  

You can toggle to different search modes by click the down arrow in the blue box.  Youroptions include Basic Search, Author Search, Cited Reference Search,  and Advanced Search. In this tutorial we will review the general Basic Search and Cited Reference Search. 

Once you've selected your search mode, enter search terms into the search box.

If you wish to use the same search field (e.g. title) you can enter multiple terms in the same search box. For example, if you want to search for articles relating to whether cinnamon as a treamtent for diabetes, both cinnamon and diabetes are topics, so you can type cinnamon and diabetes into the Basic Search bar, select Topic from the field list and then click search.  

If you wish to search different fields (e.g. topic and author) click Add Another Field to insert a new line. For example if you want to search for articles on breast cancer treatment which were authored by Julia Smith, enter breast cancer in the search bar and select Topic in the field list.  Then click Add Another Field, in the field list select Author, and type Smith, J into the search bar.  Click search to run your search.

When adding additional fields, Web of Science will connect them using AND by default. If you wish to use a different search operator (OR or NOT) be sure to change the AND to your desired operator.  For example, if you wish to search for articles pertaining to health insurance but wish to exclude articles pertaining to the Affordable Care Act, you would enter the term health insurance in the search box and select Topic in the field list. Then click Add Another Field, enter Affordable Care Act in the search box, change the AND operator to NOT, and click search.

Use the Limits below the search boxes to set restrictions on your search.

Timespan: Set date limits on your search

More Settings: Here you can limit to different segments of the Web of Science knowledgebase.  

The default setting is to use all three citation databases. The Science Citation Index has more records than either of the others, so if you want to focus on the social sciences or humanities, you may want to limit to those databases

Search Settings: Show or turn off suggestions

Results Settings: Customize the display of the search results page.


Try It: Open Levy Library's link to Web of Science and do a general Search.

  • Search for articles with the word blood in the title of the article
  • That were published in the journal Blood
  • By authors with an Organizations - Enhanced at  Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Between 2011 and 2014
About how many articles do you get? (You should get about 7).


Tip: Searching with the Address or Organizations - Enhanced fields help focus your search, but also may eliminate relevant citations.  

  • Records for abstracts and older articles may not include the authors' addresses and affiliations. Also, older records may provide only the organization and institutional address of the first author.

  • Variations in organization names and addresses are common. For example, over the years authors associated with The Mount Sinai Medical Center and ISMMS have been affiliated with organizations known as The Mount Sinai Hospital, CUNY Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and more.

    The Organizations - Enhanced field enables you to search for organization names and/or their name variants from the Preferred Organization Index. You can also search or browse the Organizations - Enhanced List (the link is to the right of the search field). However be aware that not all organizations or name variants have been included (yet).