Search tip #11: Natural Science Collection

Published on
February 24, 2020

Are you looking for literature on topics in the natural sciences? There is a good chance you'll like the Natural Science Collection.

The Natural Science Collection includes the Agriculture & Environment Science database, Biological Science database, and Earth, Atmospheric & Aquatic database. This last database includes the database ASFA - Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts. The Natural Science Collection provides full-text access to scholarly journals, trade and industry journals, magazines, technical reports, conference proceedings and government publications.

The Natural Science Collection is hosted on the ProQuest platform. You can use the Basic Search to do a simple search or use the Advanced Search to create a more systematic search query. In Advanced Search use the drop-down menus to select the search fields you want to search. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to connect search terms. Note that the search default is set to 'Anywhere'. 'Anywhere' searches all indexed fields, including the full text. Select 'Anywhere except full text (NOFT)' from the drop-down menu to refine your search.

How to access the database?

Select More recommended databases from the Databases & Collections tab on the WUR Library homepage. Search 'Natural Science Collection', and open the ProQuest Natural Science Collection [Databases] from your results list. 


  • By default, the database searches for documents with all the terms entered, and appearing in any field (document title, subjects, full text, etc.). For example, climate change looks for the terms climate AND change in all fields.
  • Word variations (singular and plural, and British and American spellings) are automatically retrieved, unless you enclose search terms in double quotation marks for an exact word or phrase search.
  • Use double quotation marks to search exact words or phrases, e.g. “climate change”. Note that double quotation marks turn off automatic retrieval of word variations (see above).
  • Use truncation (*) to replace zero or up to five characters or a wildcard (?) to replace zero or one character either inside or at the end of a search term. This will retrieve word variants, for example, “climat* change?” to find climate change or climatic change or climate changes or climatic changes.
  • Build a more systematic query with alternative search terms, Boolean operators and parentheses (to indicate operator precedence), e.g. (“climat* change?” OR “global warming”) AND (“food security” OR “nutrition* security”)
  • Select search fields from the drop-down menu, like Document title (TI), Abstract (AB) or Identifier (keyword) (IF), to refine your search.
  • Use Recent Searches (search history) to combine separate searches, to modify or to save searches, or to create alerts.