April 6, 2005
Issue No. 68

Table of Contents

New Features in Web of Science

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by Karen Clay

The Web of Science, also known as the Science Citation Index, is a general science database covering 1945 to the present. It is possibly best known for its citation search feature. However, they have recently added two powerful new features to help users get still more out of their searches: an Analyze function and the ability to combine sets.

Analyze Button

The Analyze Button shows up at the bottom right of the screen after a search has been completed. Analyzing the results of a search allows the user to view the search results (up to a maximum of 2,000 records) grouped into ranked bar charts. Search results can be ranked by author, document type, institution name, language, publication year, journal title, or subject category.

The Analyze function could be used to answer questions like "Which institutions are doing the most research on text mining?" "When did research into hydrogen energy peak?" "What journals publish the most papers involving financial risk analyses?" The screen shots below show two examples - first the results of a search on GIS, ranked according to their broad subject category (Figure 1). The search gave 2,078 records, and the top ten subject headings are displayed. The results illustrate which broad subject categories most papers involving GIS belong to - in a sense they show which research areas are making the most use of GIS.

Screenshot of results of GIS search
Figure 1: Screenshot of GIS Search
Results. Click for full-size version.

A second example (Figure 2) shows an analysis of a search medical informatics, ranked by institution. The results show that Stanford University is among the top ten publishers of articles in this area, with approximately 3.7 percent of the total research output.

Screenshot of analysis of a search medical informatics
Figure 2: Analysis of Search for Medical
Informatics, Ranked by Institution.
Click for full-size version.

Ability to Combine Sets

The ability to combine sets can be accessed by clicking on the "Search History" tab at the top of the screen next to the other search tabs. Clicking this button will display all the searches that have been done during the session so far and allow them to be combined using Boolean logic.

The advantage of this is that it allows much more complex searches to be performed, and even more importantly, it allows the results of a citation search to be combined with a topical search. This latter characteristic can be very useful, as citation searches of prominent authors can produce hundreds of results, which researchers often wish to narrow by subject.

Screenshot of a combined citation and topical search
Figure 3: A Citation Search for James
Leckie, combined with a Topical Search
for Molybdenum. Click for
full-size version.



An example is shown in Figure 3, where a citation search for James Leckie is combined with a topical search for Molybdenum to produce a manageable results set of 19 articles.

Try Out These Features

If you want to try out the either of these new features, you can access the Web of Science or you can find the link under "W" on the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources' (SULAIR) databases page. It is important to LOG OUT of the database when you are finished, as SULAIR has purchased access for only a limited number of simultaneous users on this product.