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Wildcards

Wildcards can be used in all search fields that allow words and phrases. They can be used in a search query to represent unknown characters.

  • 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.

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General Rules about Wildcards

  • You can use left-hand truncation in the following search fields in all Web of Knowledge product databases: Topic, Title, Accession Number, and Identifying Codes

  • In Topic and Title searches, you must enter at least three characters after the wildcard when using left-hand truncation.

  • In Accession Number and Identifying Code searches, you must enter at least one character after the wildcard when using left-hand truncation.

  • In Topic and Title searches, you must enter at least three characters before a wildcard when using right-hand truncation.

  • In Author searches, you must enter at least two characters before a wildcard when using right-hand truncation.

  • Wildcards may be used inside a word. For example, odo$r finds odor and odour.

  • You cannot use wildcards after special characters (/ @ #) and punctuation (. , : ; !).

  • You cannot use wildcards in a publication year search. For example, 2007 is OK 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 this company.

  • You cannot use the dollar sign ($) in quoted searches.

  • 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 in the product database.

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Note: Left-hand truncation automatically turns off lemmatization. A search for a term such as *valves returns bivalves but not bivalve. Because this occurs, you will not get plural and singular forms of search terms resulting in fewer records. By adding right-hand truncation to your search, the product returns more records. For example, *valve* returns both bivalve and bivalves.

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Wildcards, Hyphens, and Apostrophes

The search engine treats hyphens (-) and apostrophes (') in names as spaces. For example:

AU=O Brien returns the same number of results as AU=O'Brien.

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=hyrdro 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.

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Useful Tips

  • The dollar sign ($) is useful for finding both the British and American spellings of the same word. For example, flavo$r finds flavor and flavour.

  • The question mark (?) is useful for searching last names of authors where the last character is uncertain. For example, Barthold? finds Bartholdi and Bartholdy. It will not find Barthod.

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Asterisk (*) Examples

s*food matches:
seafood
soyfood

enzym* matches:
enzyme
enzymes
enzymatic
enzymic

Hof*man* matches:
Hofman
Hofmann
Hoffman
Hoffmann

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Question Mark (?) Example

wom?n matches:
woman
women

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Dollar Sign ($) Examples

colo$r matches:
color
colour

grain$ matches:
grain
grains

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Multi-wildcard Example

organi?ation* matches:
organisation
organisations
organisational
organization
organizations
organizational