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Monday, July 23, 2007

Database of the Week: Web of Science

The Web of Science provides access to information from approximately 8,700 of the “most prestigious, high impact research journals in the world.” These citations are derived from three databases: Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index. The Web of Science also provides cited reference searching. Cited reference searching allows you to “navigate forward, backward and through the literature searching all disciplines and time spans to uncover all the information relevant to their search.”

Cited Reference Searching

You can find citations to an author by entering the author’s name, entering the abbreviated title of the cited publication (if you don’t know the abbreviated journal title just click the link and a list will be provided) and you can specify the year span (optional). The result of your search is a list of cited references. You can select some or all of the references before clicking Finish Search to retrieve the citing articles. This type of search comes in very handy. For example, in a search for a particular title by Francine Fialkoff that appeared in Library Journal, I typed in “Fialkoff” in the author box and LIBR J (abbreviation for Library Journal) in the publication box and clicked search. I got 19 results. The results list defaults to an abbreviation of the cited works so in order to look at specific article titles you have to select “Show Expanded Titles.” The cited work I’m interested in is titled “Rampant Plagiarism” which has been cited twice. I select it then click “Finish Search.” I then get two cited results:

1. Ercegovac Z, Richardson JV Academic dishonesty, plagiarism included, in the digital age: A literature review COLLEGE & RESEARCH LIBRARIES 65 (4): 301-318 JUL 2004

Times Cited: 0

2. Wood G Academic original sin: Plagiarism, the Internet, and librarians JOURNAL OF ACADEMIC LIBRARIANSHIP 30 (3): 237-242 MAY 2004 Times Cited: 1

The citations also include a Links tab that will take you to Chesnutt Library's Journal Finder to see if the full text article is available (they were). Now I have more relevant resources for my research.

Although I've stressed the Cited Reference Search feature because I think it's great, the Web of Science includes a General Search and an Advanced Search tab. The interface may look a little crowded at first but once you spend a little time with it you'll find it remarkably easy to navigate. The Web of Science also includes tutorials for each search option and the ability to save your search history.

Linette Neal, Reference Librarian


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