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CH 676 Physical Chemistry:Principles and Applications


Web of Science Tips

Boston College Libraries and other information sources

What is Web of Science?

A great source for journal literature -- and, now, also for conference literature -- in chemistry (and all other sciences), covering the major journals from 1900 on – (conference literature from 2004 - ), and considered one of the two primary, general-purpose chemistry databases.  It does not index nearly as many journals in chemistry as SciFinder Scholar, but it does have other benefits (especially, see “Citation Searching”, below).

Customized RSS Feeds from Web of Science

RSS ("Really Simple Syndication") is a format that allows the content of a website to be syndicated into a news feed. To consolidate RSS feeds (alerts) from multiple resources, you can use a feed reader/aggregator,  such as BloglinesFor more information, see the "Keeping Current" tab in this guide.

Why Search Web of Science?

Use Web of Science for:

  • Topic Searching -- it's easy to use, and searches the core journals and conference proceedings in all of the sciences.

  • Citation Searching -- this is the database where Citation Searching functionality first appeared.  Citation Searching helps you retrieve the more recent references that have cited a particular, earlier and often important paper.  This enables you to see what more recent authors have said about the topic and/or the earlier work.

Find tips, below.

Topic Searching in Web of Science

Use Boolean AND and OR to connect your terms

    AND – when both concepts must be there
    OR – when either term is OK (use for synonyms)

AND and OR can be used to connect terms on the same line, as in this example:
(nanoscience* or nanotech*) and (renewable energy or renewable batter*)

Or, you can make use of the AND and OR boxes at the ends of each search line, to connect terms on each line.

Be sure to use synonyms for your terms:  synth* or prepar* or complex*

Both narrower and broader terms may be useful here.

Use the truncation symbol (*) to allow for various word endings: precipit* >> precipitation, precipitated, precipitate

To limit your retrieval to “review articles” (quality, state-of-the-knowledge survey articles, written by an expert in the field), use the scroll-down menu on the far right of one of the input boxes, choose “Document Type”, then select “Review” from the scroll-down menu that appears.

Citation Searching in Web of Science

A search method for finding more recent papers that have cited an older, more established work.

Click the “Cited Reference Search” link (near top) to start this process.  For the (older, cited) article that you want to research, type in the author’s last name and one initial, followed by an asterisk (to allow for additional initials, as needed).  Then, type in the year of the older article.  Click the Search button to see a list of candidate entries. 

In this example there's only one choice.  Sometimes, however, you'll see a number of possible matches -- pick the ones that look best (look carefully, and think about how there might be errors in cited references that are fed into the database …).  When you have your citing references selected, click the “Finish Search” button to see all citing references displayed.  Look on the left-hand side of the results screen to mark and analyze your results (“analyze” lets you build a histogram of your results – analysis by journal name can be useful).  Sort options on the right side include “times cited”, “relevance”, journal title.

Subject Guide

Enid Karr's picture
Enid Karr
O'Neill Library 310