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Web of Science   Tags: biology, databases, ernst mayr library, how_to, science, searching, tools  

Guide to using the Thomson Reuters Web of Science and other Web of Knowledge databases to search for biology resources
Last Updated: Apr 15, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Getting Started

 The Web of Science (WoS) is one database in the Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge. Access it through a Library website such as or the MCB Library page or Harvard E-Resources.

The Web of Knowledge will open. Note the bar above the search page - next to the orange Search arrow you can choose which of several databases you want to search. You can choose All Databases or Select any one database such as the Web of Science.

The other databases in the Thomson group besides the Web of Science are:

  • BIOSIS Previews - Life sciences and biomedical research. From 1969 to present.
  • BIOSIS Citation Index - Web of Science citation searching within BIOSIS.
  • CABI (CAB Abstracts) - agriculture and the environment. From 1910 to present.
  • Current Contents Connect - a current awareness database.
  • Data Citation Index.
  • Derwent Innovations Index.
  • MEDLINE - from the US National Library of Medicine - life sciences. This is the same database as PubMed. This Web of Knowledge interface lets you Analyzing results or set up a Citation Alert. An All Databases search, by including Medline, ensures that you are coverng biomedical information that might not be in the other databases. PubMed offers other options; both have their uses.
  • Scielo Citation Index - research from Latin America, Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean and South Africa.
  • Zoological Record - animal taxonomy and biology . From 1864 to present.

Each database covers specific subject areas, and that the coverage varies. The Web of Science goes back to 1899 but Zoological Record covers zoological literature from as far back as 1864. Remember that if you search All Databases, the information on each entry will not be as complete as it will be in specific databases. Your topic will help guide you in making your choice, but it is usually a good idea to start by searching everything.

In the box below is a PowerPoint with screenshots.


WoK Step by Step

Web of Science Subject Guide

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