Proximity Searching

A useful advanced search technique is to search for a specific term that appears relatively close to another term.  This is known affectionately as a “proximity” search, and is supported in FoxTrax and most library databases.

In FoxTrax (the GFU Library catalog), simply put the word “near” between two terms:

  • “slavery near Christianity”

This will return catalog records that have the two terms within ten words of one another.  If you want to specify exactly how far apart the terms appear, you can do so using “within” and a number:

  • “genetics within 7 intelligence”

Article Databases:

Proximity searches can also be done in most library databases, though using different syntax.

In EBSCO databases, Near searches can be done using “N” and a number (“slavery N5 Christianity”).  This will retrieve all records with the two terms separated by five words or less, regardless of the order.

The search “ethics W8 China” will retrieve records in which “ethics” is followed within eight words by “China”:






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