Skip to Main Content

Database Search Tips

This guide will help get you started in some of our most popular databases! Happy searching! Let us know if we can help.


Web of Science covers more than 34,000 journals across the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities disciplines across its databases. It includes additional citation types like data sets, patents, conference proceedings, and books, dating back to 1900.

Most useful for:

  • Keyword searching (no worrying about subject headings!)
  • Citation tracking
  • Journal indexing

Getting Started

Web of Science Tutorials provided by Clarivate

Basic Searching Instructions

Web of Science does not have subject headings. You can search by keywords easily in the Basic Search.

Searching with Basic Search

1. Enter words or phrases that describe your topic in the search box. The dropdown box in front of the query box will allow you to search for terms in different fields of the database, such as a Title or Keyword search combined with an author search. To widen your search as much as possible, select All Fields.

2. You can click +Add Row and add additional words or phrases in subsequent boxes. Be sure to choose the correct term to combine the boxes: 

OR will find references with any of the search terms. Use OR to broaden your search.

AND will find references with all the search terms. Use AND to narrow your search.

3. Click search.

4. View your search history by expanding the menu on the left side of the page, and then click History.

5. If you would like to search each concept one at a time or combine multiple rows you have already searched, you can! From the History page, you can navigate to the Advanced Search, which allows you to combine multiple search queries.

Limiting/Refining your Combined Search Results

Web of Science has extensive filtering options.

The results filters are on the left side of the results page.

Common filters include Publication Years and Document Types (see image to right).


Sorting Results

Web of Science also has extensive sorting options: see image below. Choose Sort By: at the top right corner of the results box and choose from the dropdown. Popular sorting options include Relevance, Date: newest first, and Citations: highest first. Remember, not all highly cited papers are reliable or accurate papers! Use your best judgement.



Saving your Searches

1. To easily send the search query (to yourself or others), click "copy query link" underneath the search bar at the top of the results page.


2. To save searches or citations within Web of Science, first create an account by clicking the purple "Register" button at the top right of the page.

3. To save the search query, click the Create Alert button to the right side of the search query. You can click "Rerun search" to run the search again in the future.

4. Web of Science allows you to save the entire results list, a range of citations, all citations on one page, or specific citations from a search. To save the entire results list, a range of citations, or all citations on one page, simply click the Add to Marked List button and fill out the form as desired. To save specific citations, click the radio buttons next to those citations, then click the Add to Marked List button.

5. You can access your Marked Lists and Saved Searches from the menu on the left side of the page (you may have to expand the menu). 


Steps to Find Full-Text Articles

If you are unable to find full-text articles using the links below, you will need to order it via InterLibrary Loan (Step #3).

Before making a request for full-text articles through Interlibrary Loan (ILL), please try steps #1 and #2 to search for the full-text. This allows our service to focus on articles that are not available for free nor via our Duke subscriptions. Our Interlibrary Loan service is no charge to Duke borrowers for all article requests. If there are copyright or other fees associated with your article request, we will contact you.

  1. Find the article citation in a database: If you aren't already in a database, go back to PubMed or other database such as CINAHL, Embase, or Web of Science to look up the article. Why? Because our Get it @ Duke button will fill out the ILL form for you with all the article information – this saves you time and ensures greater citation accuracy.
  2. Click the GetIt@Duke button: Once you locate the article in a citation database, click the Get It @ Duke link.
  3. Select second button to request as Med Center User: From the page that says “We don't have this online — see below for other ways to get it” click the green button that says “Request – Med Center users.”
  4. Log on with your DHE / NetID username and password: This will take you to the ILL form. The article information will be filled into the form automatically. Scroll to the bottom, verify accuracy, and click submit.

If you can't find the citation in a database or you don't see a GetIt@Duke button, you can place a request manually through our interlibrary loan service. Follow the steps below.

Questions about Interlibrary Loan? All interlibrary loan questions should go to Louis Wiethe, Document Delivery & Interlibrary Loan Manager, 919.660.1179 or

Web of Science: Get Search and Citation Alerts

Web of KnowledgeWeb of Science

Web of Knowledge Account

  • A Web of Knowledge account allows you to save searches, access EndNote Web, and create search and citation alerts for Web of Science and other Thomson Reuters databases (BIOSIS Citation Index, Journal Citation Reports)
  • Create an account by clicking the "Sign in" link on the menu bar in Web of Science

Create search alert

  • Sign-in to your Web of Knowledge account
  • Run search in Web of Science, choose any filters that you wish to apply to your search
  • Click the "Create Alert/RSS" button in the upper left corner of your results page
  • Enter a name for your search, click the box next to "Email alerts" and select the type, format and frequency you would like to receive
  • Click "Save"
  • You will begin to receive emails when new citations that meet your search criteria become available

Create citation alert

  • Sign-in to your Web of Knowledge account
  • Perform a search for the article(s) for which you wish to receive citation alerts
  • Click on the title of the article to view the full record
  • In the box on the right side of the full record page, click "Create Citation Alert"
  • The article will be added to your My Cited Articles list and you will automatically receive an email each time the article is cited
  • To view and edit your citation alerts, click the "My Citation Alerts" link in the menu bar at the top of any Web of Science page

Contact the Medical Library

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.