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Database Searching Tips: Proximity Searches

This guide teaches you common search strategies that can be utilized within various databases to help you narrow down searches and find the most relevant resources.

Proximity Searches

Many databases allow you to specify that the words you are searching are within a certain proximity of each other. Proximity operators are more specific than Boolean operators and make your search more precise. Proximity operators also vary by database, but the most common is shown below.

n# = near

  • Near specifies that the words may appear in any order.
  • Substitute the # with a number of words that may appear in between.
  • Examples:
    cloning n3 human (retrieves cloning of humans, human cloning etc.)

Consult the database Help screens to find out how to search by phrases or to specify proximity.  You can also Contact us for advice on searching phrases.

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