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BIOSIS Previews Database: Topic, Author, Title searches

A guide to searching BIOSIS Previews, a combined index of biology journal articles from Biological Abstracts and supplemental, non-journal content

Topic Search Hints

To do a topic search, enter the search term or phrase in the Basic Search box. This finds the term or phrase anywhere in the record.

There is no subject thesaurus in BA/BP. There is, however, some controlled vocabulary to help with searching. See more in field searching.

Because BA/BP relies primarily upon word searches, there are special techniques that can be used to improve a search. 

  • Synonyms: Synonyms and near-synonyms are important. In BA/BP, the search should include both terms: heart attack or myocardial infarction. Include common/Latin organism names and abbreviations as synonyms.
  • Problems to watch out for include: variations in spelling (estrogen or oestrogen),  in hyphenation (in vitro or in-vitro), and in the use of symbols (beta lactamase, alpha 2 macroglobulin). 
Search Tools:

Wildcard characters--use truncation for more control of the retrieval of plurals and variant spellings:

  • * zero to many characters
  • ? one character
  • $ zero or one character

Phrase searching:

  • To search exact phrases in Topic or Title searches, enclose a phrase in quotation marks (“energy conservation” finds results for the exact phrase) 

Connect your search terms with AND, OR, or NOT:

  • AND finds records containing all of your search terms
  • OR finds records containing any of your search terms
  • NOT excludes records containing the selected words from your search
  • NEAR/n finds records containing all terms within a certain number of words (n) of each other (stress NEAR/3 sleep)
  • SAME in an Address search finds terms in the same line of the address (Tulane SAME Chem) 

Author, Article, and Journal Title Searching

(Click the image to enlarge)

Search By Author

Up to 100 authors per article are included in BA/BP, which include full first names when available. Searches for articles by a particular author can be accomplished in two ways.

Search: Select Author from the drop-down menu on the main search screen and enter the author’s last name and first name/initials, if known (smith susan p or smith sp). Authors may publish under their full names or just with initials, so try the truncation symbol ($):  (smith s$ or smith $). Because of the variations in author names, it might be more helpful to browse by author:

Browse: Choose Select from Index (the green AZ icon in the search field). Enter the author’s last name and first initial. From the resulting list, select the name(s) of interest. For name variants (smith s and smith sp), do a separate search for each name then combine the resulting sets with the OR operator.

Search By Article Title

To search for an article title in BA/BP, select Title from the drop-down menu on the main search screen and enter words from the article title.

Search By Journal Title

Search: Select Publication Name from the drop-down menu on the main search screen and enter words from the journal title. Use wildcards (* $ ?) with title abbreviations.

Field Searching

One way to narrow a search is to search for the word/phrase of interest in a specific field. Fields identify different areas on an articles record, such as title, author, abstract, etc.

To search within a specific field, type in the a field label plus the topic in parentheses. Example:

  • AU=(De Marco* OR DeMarco*)
  • AU=(Van Hecke T* OR Vanhecke T*)

Last names containing a space should be searched with and without the space.

Click on the Help tab in Web of Science for advanced examples of field searching.

Field searching hints:

  • To maximize precision, search only in the title and abstract fields
  • To retrieve all possible records, do not limit to any fields; search without codes.
  • Drop down menus are also available for searching by author names, article/book titles, journal titles, subject, and abstract.

List of Fields and Field Codes   

AI=Author Identifiers
AN=Patent Assignee
GP=Group Author
CB=Chemical and Biochemical
CC=Concept Codes
CR=CAS Registry No.
DE=Miscellaneous Descriptors
DS=Disease Data
GE=Geographic Data
GT=Geological Time Data
GN=Gene Name Data
GP=Group Author
IC=Identifying Codes
MC=Major Concepts
MI=Meeting Information
MQ=Methods & Equipment Data
PSD=Parts & Structure Data
PY=Year Published
SO=Publication Name
SQ=Sequence Data
SU=Research Area
TA=Taxonomic Data
UToledo=Accession Number