Proximity searching is a way to search for two or more words that occur within a certain number of words from each other. The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The number cannot exceed 255.
The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched, as follows:
- Near Operator (N): N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another, regardless of the order in which they appear. For example, type tax N5 reform to find results that would match tax reform as well as reform of income tax.
- Within Operator (W): W8 finds the words if they are within eight words of one another, in the order in which you entered them. For example, type tax W8 reform to find results that would match tax reform but would not match reform of income tax.
In addition, multiple terms can be used on either side of the operator. See the following examples:
- (tax OR tariff) N5 reform
- oil W3 (disaster OR clean-up OR contamination)
- (baseball OR football OR basketball) N5 (teams OR players)
Note: Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) are not case sensitive unless they have been configured as such by your institution's administrator.