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Research Guides@Tufts

Advanced Searching Techniques

Boolean Operators


 To find records containing all terms [Example: blood pressure AND stroke]

OR  To find records containing any of the terms [Example: myocardial infarction OR heart attack]
NOT  Exclude records containing certain words in your search [Example: cardiovascular disease NOT heart attack]
NEAR  To find records containing all terms within a certain number (n) of each other [Example: stress NEAR/3 sleep]
 Search terms that must occur within the same sentence [Example: Tufts SAME Boston, biodivers* same conserv*]

Truncation and Wildcard

Truncation and wildcard characters are used for more control in retrieving plurals and different spellings.


 To retrieve words with variant zero to many characters [Example: disease* will include diseases, diseased, diseasing, diseasedness etc.]

?  To retrieve words words with the replacement of 1 character [Example: wom?n includes women, woman]
$  Retrieves zero or one character [Example: disease$ includes only diseased, diseases ]
  " "  
 To search exact phrases [Example: " strict dietary restrictions "]

Advanced Searching Techniques in Web of Science

WIth your search terms, field notations and the Boolean, Wildcard and Truncation commands, you can structure a query that is easily replicable and editable.  This is the beauty of Advanced Searching--greater control, that hopefully results in stronger searches.

Here are some pointers of the Advanced Search features in Web of Science:

  • Each search term in the query must be identified as a field tag.  In a basic search, generally all fields are searched, but with Advanced Search you will need to specify.  Some of the most common field tags are below: 
AD= Address   OO= Organization
AI= Author Identifiers PS= Province/State
AU= Author PY= Year Published
CF= Conference SA= Street Address
CI= City SG= Suborganization
DO=DOI (Document Object Identifier) SO= Publication Name
ED= Editor SU= Research Area
FG= Grant Number TI= Title
FO= Funding Agency TS= Topic
FT= Funding Text UT= Accession Number
GP= Group Author WC= Web of Science Category
IS= ISSN/ISBN ZP=Zip/ Postal Code
OG= Organization- Enhanced                                                         

Advanced Search Examples

Using some field tags and operators, let's try constructing a search:

Let's try retrieving records with the name of a specific organization, let's say Tufts University, for documents about biodiversity conservation efforts.

OG= (Tufts University) AND TS= (biodivers* "and" conserv*)


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Web of Science Advanced Search Tips

  • To search on the name AND, OR, NOT, NEAR, and SAME, enclose the name in quotation marks. Example: "Or"
  • Extra spaces around opening and closing parenthesis () and equal = signs are ignored.
  • Use SAME in Address searches, in Topic searchers AND works exactly like SAME.

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