Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Proximity Searching

Some databases allow proximity searching. For example: you can search for the word religion (N) Civil War (N) United States: Here you are looking for all three words to appear NEAR each other in any order.

The user can indicate 5N to indicate that the two words being searched should be within five words of each other in any order.

Another proximity search commonly available is W – for WITHIN. You can search for Library W school.

Proximity searching increases accuracy in searching.

Databases such as Dialog have such refined search functions. When a database consists of millions of entries, this is a better option to search. Databases that have this service will have help information on what proximities searches to use and how.