Interdisciplinary databases cover a wide range of academic subjects including arts, humanities, natural and social sciences. Two exemplars of those databases are Web of Science and Scopus. Web of Science (previously known as Web of Knowledge) is a collection of databases maintained by Thomson Reuters. Scopus is a large interdisciplinary database from Elsevier, with particular strengths in science and technology. Each has its highlights, which we briefly summarise in this post.
Web of science contains more than 12,000 high-impact factor research journals in the fields of science, social sciences and humanities. One of its main advantages is its ability to track the citations of the paper you have searched by means of colourful charts, that give you a general idea on the research status about your topic. This feature is most helpful when you have already safely landed in the area related to your research paper. This is important when it comes to the actual search by keywords: you can use Web of science at its best by means of a precise combination of keywords and search operators (AND, OR, NOT, NEAR,…).
The citation analysis can be conducted also in Scopus, which is a great option in terms of general search, since it offers a collective field (Article Title, Abstracts, Keywords) in its research interface. This feature will greatly help you if you are still surfing your field to see what has been published. Scopus has also the advantage of covering more literature, since it claims to contain more than 20,000 research journals and more than 130,000 books, but the coverage varies noticeably depending on the discipline.