A step-by-step tutorial for using Web of Science. Use Web of Science to follow particular research areas, work of specific researchers or organizations, or author metrics.


  • Web of Science (WoS) includes the Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Index, Arts and Humanities Citation Index, and the new Emerging Sources Citation Index
  • Primary use is to follow a research topic or the work of a particular author. WoS can also be used to locate articles by funding source, organization, lab group, and others
  • Not a literature review tool alone since only includes only a specific set of journals. Use other databases first if you need to perform an extensive literature search
  • Create a free account for specialized features. You will be prompted to log in when going to use these and can register for an account at this point
  • To access Web of Science from the UNT Libraries, go the UNT Libraries home page, select Databases from the left hand side, type web of science into the search bar or use the Go Directly To drop down and select Web of Science from the alphabetical list

Searching Web of Science

  • General Search - specific topics, authors, journals, or organizations
  • Cited Reference Search - allows you to search for cited works, related references, topics, and authors  
  • Advanced Search - a more complicated search. Don’t use unless familiar with this method

Search Tips

  • Use operators such as AND (to include more than 1 term, narrows search), OR (broadens search, use for synonyms or alternate spellings), SAME (use to force two terms to be in the same sentence) for improved search results
  • Phrase searching - type words side by side e.g. wildlife biology
  • * is the truncation character. Can be used as a wildcard for alternate spellings of words e.g col*r will search both colour and color, or use to find alternate endings of words e.g. reproduc* will find reproduce, reproduces, reproduction, reproducing 

Using General Search 

  • General Search is the default. Enter your search terms, then click the SEARCH button
  • Example 1: Using the Topic search, type gold SAME sul*ur to search for records containing gold in the same sentence as either sulphur or sulfur. Try the search with AND instead of SAME. Notice the different in the number of records
  • Example 2: Using the Address search, type univ n texas to see what research is being done here. This is a very specific search. You need to have the correct abbreviation. Help is available by clicking on the link to the right of the search box
  • Use the drop down menu to the right of the search box. Limit to Title to force words to appear in the title

Using Cited Reference Search

  • Use this search to find articles published in the years covered by Web of Science (currently 1995 – current) that cite a known article
  • Click on Cited Reference Search from the top tabs
  • Type in information for the article you want to search. For example, type mcbride bw in Cited Author field, j anim sci in Cited Work field and 1990 in Cited Year to look for the article written by bw mcbride published in the journal of animal science in 1990
  • Need the recognized journal abbreviation which can usually be found on the home page for the journal (do a Google search for the name of the journal to find the home page for the journal)
  • Click the SEARCH button
  • The article will be shown with the number of papers citing it in the entire database. In the above example, it should be 48 or a few more. If you have multiple matches to your query, select references to search by clicking on box next to it or click Select Allbutton to search on all references
  • Click Search to find articles that cite the selected article(s). From the results which list ONLY articles published in the time frame you chose earlier, click on the article title link to retrieve full record, including abstract if available

Viewing the Records

  • View the abstract or summary information by clicking on the article title
  • Click on References to see reference list (references that are highlighted can be viewed by clicking on the article title), click onTimes Cited to see articles citing current article, or click on Related References button to see related records
  • Use the blue arrow button to move to the next article or the Back to Results button to return to the list of citations

Marking and Saving Records

  • Mark desired records from search by clicking in square boxes to left of author(s)' name(s). Click on Add to Marked List when done. The system works best if you complete this step before moving to the next page of results
  • Click on Marked List button at top of screen to display marked records. Note: records from previous searches unless you have deleted them
  • Can set sort options and select fields for including (NOTE: can choose option of including cited references but this will take extra time). Choose FORMAT FOR PRINT (use browser File button to print), SAVE TO FILE (be sure to specify drive and .txt file extension or results may be unreadable) or EXPORT TO REFERENCE SOFTWARE (such as Reference Manager or Procite), or E-Mail and follow instructions
  • Click on DELETE THIS LIST button at top right to remove marked records after exporting them

Finding the Article

  • Click on the Links icon at the bottom of each record. This will open another window that indicates if the article is available in full text (online). There may be an option to go to the article or you may need to go to the journal home page and find the appropriate volume and issue
  • You can also click on the article title to see the summary. From this screen there are also a Links and Holdings options on the right hand side of the screen. The Holdings option takes you into the UNT Libraries’ catalog and show the online and print holdings of the journal title. The Links option performs the same way as in the first example
  • If you don’t get a result, search for the name of the journal in the UNT Library Catalog using both the Journal Title and Titlesearches to be sure that we don’t have the item (remember to search by the name of the journal, not the article title or author)

Using Search History, Combining Searches, and Setting E-mail Alerts (requires free account for some features)

  • Click on the Search History tab from the top left of the screen
  • This lets you combine searches using “and” or “or” for more specialized searching
  • Click on Save Search History from the middle right of the screen to save your search history or Open Saved History to open a previously saved search (requires a free account)
  • You can choose to save the search to your computer or use ISI’s server which also allows you set to up an e-mail alert(requires free account)
  • Just click on the radio button next to the “Send Me E-mail Alerts” option in the middle of the screen. Then click “Save”. Note:Only the last search will be saved as an alert. Previous searches need to be repeated and saved individually

Citation Alerts (requires free account)

  • When viewing the article’s abstract or summary, there is an option on the right hand side to Create a Citation Alert
  • Click on the button to set up the alert
  • When another paper in the database cites the paper you set a citation alert for, you will receive an e-mail with a link to the citing article

Citation Patterns and Analyzing Results

  • You can perform an author search to see the “h-index” which is a measure of the “value” of an author’s work. Click on Create Citation Report
  • After performing a cited reference search, you should see a “Citation Map Beta” at the top. This shows the “web” of citations among articles
  • Use the Analyze Results link to display results by organization, journal or other ways


c. Beth Thomsett-Scott, January 2016. Please contact me at beth.thomsett-scott@unt.edu if you have questions.