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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Biological Abstracts (BIOSIS): Searching Biological Abstracts (BIOSIS)

A guide for using the Biological Abstracts (BIOSIS) database.

Searching Biological Abstracts (BIOSIS)

Image showing Web of Science's basic search box with the Biological Abstracts collection selected.

 

BIOSIS Basic Search allows you to choose from many search fields, including topic, title, author, publication year, language, and more. Click "Add row" to add additional search boxes. Click "Add date range" to limit your search by timespan. BIOSIS searches the bibliographic record, not the full text of articles. 

Search Tips

  • Choose specific terms that are closely related to your research topic, including terms you might use when discussing your topic with a colleague such as jargon, synonyms, and abbreviations.
  • BIOSIS searches are not case sensitive.
  • BIOSIS automatically finds variant spellings of words. 
  • Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases when doing a topic or title search (e.g. "Lyme disease"). Note: if two words are separated by a hyphen, comma, or period, the term will be interpreted as an exact phrase (e.g. searching deep-sea will return results for deep-sea and deep sea)
  • Use Boolean operators to limit, broaden, or eliminate terms from your search:
    • AND limits search results, finding articles with both terms 
    • OR broadens results, finding articles with either term 
    • NOT eliminates terms from the results, finding articles with one term but not the other 
    • Note: when parentheses () are not used to group terms, searches with multiple operators are read in the order NOT, AND, OR. Then the search is read from left to right.
  • Use truncation and wildcards to broaden your search:
    • An asterisk (*) replaces multiple characters in a word (e.g. ecolog* returns ecology, ecological, ecologist etc.)
    • A question mark (?) replaces a single character (e.g. disrupt?rs for disrupters and disruptors)
    • A dollar sign ($) replaces one or zero characters (e.g. colo$r for color and colour) 
  • Use proximity operators to make a more specific search:
    • NEAR/# tells BIOSIS to find results where the search terms are within # number of words of each other (e.g. searching for bird NEAR/3 flying returns records where the term "flying" is within 3 terms of the word "bird")
    • SAME in an Address search finds terms in the same line of an address (e.g. Tulane SAME chem)

Image showing Web of Science advanced search box with BIOSIS collection selected.

BIOSIS Advanced Search allows you to build a search using field tags, Boolean operators, and set combinations. Choose from many search fields, including topic, title, author, publication year, language, and more. Click "Add row" to add additional search boxes. Click "Add date range" to limit your search by timespan. Click "Add to query" once you have selected a search field and typed your terms into the search box. Once you are satisfied with your search query, click "Search." 

Search Tips

  •  Use the "History" box below the advanced search query box to view old searches, or to add old searches to a new search query.
  • Choose specific terms that are closely related to your research topic, including terms you might use when discussing your topic with a colleague such as jargon, synonyms, and abbreviations.
  • BIOSIS searches are not case sensitive.
  • BIOSIS automatically finds variant spellings of words. 
  • Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases when doing a topic or title search (e.g. "Lyme disease"). Note: if two words are separated by a hyphen, comma, or period, the term will be interpreted as an exact phrase (e.g. searching deep-sea will return results for deep-sea and deep sea)
  • Use Boolean operators to limit, broaden, or eliminate terms from your search:
    • AND limits search results, finding articles with both terms 
    • OR broadens results, finding articles with either term 
    • NOT eliminates terms from the results, finding articles with one term but not the other 
    • Note: when parentheses () are not used to group terms, searches with multiple operators are read in the order NOT, AND, OR. Then the search is read from left to right.
  • Use truncation and wildcards to broaden your search:
    • An asterisk (*) replaces multiple characters in a word (e.g. ecolog* returns ecology, ecological, ecologist etc.)
    • A question mark (?) replaces a single character (e.g. disrupt?rs for disrupters and disruptors)
    • A dollar sign ($) replaces one or zero characters (e.g. colo$r for color and colour) 
  • Use proximity operators to make a more specific search:
    • NEAR/# tells BIOSIS to find results where the search terms are within # number of words of each other (e.g. searching for bird NEAR/3 flying returns records where the term "flying" is within 3 terms of the word "bird")
    • SAME in an Address search finds terms in the same line of an address (e.g. Tulane SAME chem)