Wildcards represent unknown characters. They are valid only in
English-language search queries.
The asterisk (*) represents any group of characters, including no character.
The question mark (?) represents any single character.
The dollar sign ($) represents zero or one character.
Right-Hand and Internal Truncation
- At least three characters must precede the wildcard in Title and Topic
searches. For example, zeo* is acceptable but
ze* is not.
Wildcards may be used inside a word. For example, odo$r
finds odor and odour.
- You may use different wildcards in one term: l?chee$
matches lichee, lichees, lychee, lychees.
You cannot use wildcards after special characters (/ @ #) and punctuation (.
, : ; !).
You cannot use wildcards in a publication year search. For example,
2007 is acceptable but 200* is not.
You cannot search on a wildcard if it appears in a word or name. For example,
the search TS=E*Trade OR TS="E*Trade" will not return records
about the company called E*Trade.
Avoid using wildcards in search queries with very broad truncation matches.
For example, a search on UT=*2 or UT=*2* or
UT=*22 or UT=*22* may return incomplete
results (or no results) because there are simply too many matches.
You can use left-hand truncation in the following search fields in all
Web of Science product databases: Topic, Title, Accession Number, and
In Topic and Title searches, you must enter at least three characters after
the wildcard when using left-hand truncation. For example: *bio
- Left-hand truncation is not supported in Author and Cited Author searches.
In Accession Number and Identifying Code searches, you must enter at least
one character after the wildcard when using left-hand truncation. For example:
Wildcards, Hyphens, and Apostrophes
The search engine treats hyphens (-) and apostrophes (') in names as spaces.
AU=O Brien returns the same number of results as
Try searching for names with and without a space. For example,
AU=OBrien OR AU=O Brien returns both variants
of the name.
When searching for hyphenated query terms, enter the term with and without
wildcards. For example:
TS=hydro-power returns records that contain the terms
hydro-power and hydro power.
TS=hydro*power returns records that contain the terms
hydropower and hydroelectricpower.
TS=hydro power returns records that contain the terms hydro
and power anywhere in the record, such as hydro-power, hydro-electrical power,
and hydro-mechanical power.
Asterisk (*) Examples
Question Mark (?) Example
Dollar Sign ($) Examples