Getting Better Results with Web of Science

A guide to Web of Science and some of its features.


In the core collection, Web of Science applies lemmatization rules in their Topic and Title searches. For example, searching for knife will return results that include both the terms knife and knives.

Lemmatization doesn't get applied to terms that are associated with wildcards; *knife** (with an asterisk) will not return any records that only include the word knives.

Truncation turns Lemmatization off

However, the Lemmatization feature will not be applied to words searched with wildcards, such as the truncation symbol (*). So searching for mice* will not return any records that only include the word mouse.

This is also the case when searching for synonyms. In the system, color and colour are considered synonyms and they bring back the same results. However, searching color* will not return results with only the word colour present.

Catching all the variants

To find all variants of a term, enter both terms using a wildcard separated by the OR operator. For example, color* OR colour* finds both variants.