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Web of Science: Importance

The Many Faces of Web of Science

Many research databases are contained in Web of Science. Refer to the Search Tips tab for more information about accessing these databases. 

  • Web of Science - The title the producer uses to identify all the databases in its stable of databases. Currently, Calvin subscribes to Web of Science, Medline, BIOSIS (Biological Abstracts), Zoological Record, and a few minor databases. See this page for a complete list. When you click on the Web of Science link, you are searching all the database. Click on the All Databases tab to limit the number of databases searched.
  • You can narrow your search to any of these databases by selecting them from the Hekman Library Research Databases web page.
    • Arts & Humanities Citation Index - A sub-set of WoS listed as a separate research database.
    • Science Citation Index - A sub-set of WoS listed as a separate research database. You will not be searching Medline!
    • Social Science Citation Index - A sub-set of WoS listed as a separate research database.

Why Web of Science is Essential

Reasons for searching Web of Science

  1. WoS searches the contents of more than 20,000 journals.
  2. WoS contains links to only the most authoritative and scholarly journal articles. You can be assured that all the articles you find in WoK are peer reviewed. 
  3. WoS is interdisciplinary. So many research paper topics can be viewed from multiple disciplines - biology, ethics, business, sociology. When you search WoS, you will automatically find articles from multiple perspectives.
  4. WoS provides the ability to discover other relevant articles related to one article. For example, suppose the Jakobsen article in the middle of the illustration is perfect for you paper. WoS offers a simple way to view all the articles Jakobsen used and all the articles that used Jakobsen's article.  Graph depicting a yellow box connected by lines to two black boxes, which in turn are connected to a multitude of other colored boxes. Above is the question "What triggers UN peace enforcement after the cold war?" in red lettering. 
  5. WoS offers very sophisticated searching functions that make discovery easy. Many of these functions are described in the Advanced Search Tips tab. One important function is the ability to discover the most cited articles. This tells you that an article is important because many scholars used it in their articles; this is analogous to crowd sourcing.


Advanced Assistance

The Web of Science is one of the most sophisticated search interfaces around. It is designed to discover relevant and related sources quickly. A guide such as this one can only scratch the surface of what the system can do. If you would like a tutorial, please contact David Malone: or view these six minute videos on YouTube.