Looking back, looking ahead
What's in a name? Not much, when you consider that the "Web of Science" indexes thousands of journal articles in art, classics, music, philosophy, poetry and religion among countless other non-scientific areas. That's not to say that the sciences are neglected, as 5,300 major journals across 164 scientific disciplines also are indexed by this gigantic database that is the premier database offering by the University Libraries this academic year. The "Web of Science" offers the ability to mix and match searching of the following indexes back to 1992: the "Arts and Humanities Citation Index," the "Science Citation Index" and the "Social Sciences Citation Index." The "Web of Science" goes beyond providing the standard information such as author, article title, journal title, volume number, etc. This is because the entries include an abstract (usually) and, believe it or not, the full bibliography of references (always).
That reference listing of cited sources is where the fun begins because of the innovative way ISI, the company that produces the "Web of Science," manipulates each bibliography using computer technology! Sure, you can do the standard author or topic search, also known as an "Easy Search." But ISI takes the article bibliographies and introduces a revolutionary concept: you, the researcher, are liberated from a pursuit of knowledge that goes backwards in time via the standard tracking down the literature a fellow scholar has footnoted from an earlier publication. Rather, you can look forward and track the evolution of research and scholarly thinking by doing a "Cited Reference Search" that enables you to find out when a book, patent or article has been cited in the years following its publication. You've entered a new world of searching that allows you to, in ISI's words, "discover how a known idea or innovation has been confirmed, applied, improved, extended or corrected."
And even more fun-how about a little "ego surfing?" See how many times your books and articles have been cited since 1992. You can do so from the privacy of a computer station. Who will ever know?
The Web of Science is available on University Libraries Computer stations or for those who access the Internet through the UB network on their home or office computers. The url is: http://webofscience.com. For aid in connecting to the UB network, contact the Computing Center Help Desk at 645-3542. For more information on the Web of Science, contact Don Hartman firstname.lastname@example.org, Lockwood Library, 645-2817.
-Gemma DeVinney and Don Hartman, University Libraries