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Exploring the Chemical Literature

Tutorial for students in advanced Analytical Chemistry courses for majors, but useful to anyone interested in using the literature of chemistry.

Searching Web of Science

Web of Science works much the same way as a References search in SciFinder, but the biggest difference is that Web of Science doesn't include sophisticated chemical indexing such as structures, Registry Numbers, and cross-referenced systematic names.  Science Citation Index Expanded also covers only journals, but across a wide range of STEM fields. 

screen snapshot web of science search box

  1. At the top of the form, make sure you're searching the Web of Science Core Collection.  There are other non-WOS files available that are less relevant here.
  2. Deselect all WOS Core databases except for "Science Citation Index Expanded". This is optional, but helps eliminate irrelevant hits from the non-science segments of the Core Collection.
  3. Click "Add row" to create three search boxes. Enter the concepts in the separate boxes. The field designation for all the boxes should be "Topic".  ("Topic" means all the fields that contain keywords related to the article's subject, namely the title, abstract and category headings, but not author, source, etc.)  Web of Science does not contain CAS Registry Numbers, so you have to use the common name(s) of our desired analyte: "anatoxin-a". (The search terms are not case-sensitive, but you should put the name in quotes.)  Use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard character to retrieve different forms of a keyword: chromatograph* will retrieve chromatography, chromatographic, etc.
  4. Selecting publication years is optional, but you can limit retrieval to recent years here if you wish.

web of science results screen shot

The results are default-sorted by relevance algorithm, but you can re-sort them in many different ways, e.g. newest date first. 

When you have lots of results, you can use the extensive Refine filters on the left side to refine your hits:  limit to review articles, selected dates, etc.

To retrieve the full text of an article, click the Find it @ UT button.  This starts a search in our local system to see if we have access to the specific year of this specific journal.  Many open access articles are available as well.

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