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Web of Science: Using a Citation Database: Searching WoS: Overview and Video

Searching in Web of Science

Because Web of Science does not use subject headings or Automatic Term Mapping (like MEDLINE/PubMed), an effective topic search usually includes Boolean operators, truncation and/or quotation marks.

Web of Science does uses "lemmatization" to account for some plural forms of words (e.g., tooth/ teeth), spelling variations (e.g., behavior/behaviour) and verb tenses (e.g., run/running).  But lemmatization is not as powerful as Automatic Term Mapping. A search in PubMed for uses Automatic Term Mapping to translate your search terms and expand your search query with MeSH subject headings, synonyms and related terms within the biomedical sciences. 

For example, a PubMed search for expression automatically adds the terms Gene Expression; Protein Biosynthesis; Transcription, Genetic; Reverse Transcription and more to your search. It can retrieve articles with titles such as An Evolutionarily Conserved Mechanism for Controlling the Efficiency of Protein Translation, which is about gene expression but does not use the precise word "expression" in the title or abstract.

Because Web of Science includes a much broader range of topics than MEDLINE/PubMed, an effective search often includes strategies to focus your results by using Refine Search options (filters), Boolean operators and/or quotation marks. 

For example, a search in Web of Science for expression searches for that word in all contexts.  It does retrieve articles about gene expression, but also about subjects unrelated to your topic, such as emotional expression and mathematical expressions. One way to refine this search is by putting the full concept, "gene expression" in quotations.

The following sections of this module offer opportunities to practice searching  Web of Science: using seach fields, Boolean operators, truncation and quotations, and Refine Search options.

Search Tips for Web of Science: This video (duration: 6:19) was published on December 13, 2013 and retrieved on March 10, 2014.