Help Topics 
Searching
  - getting started
  - searching tips
  - choosing a search type
  - searching regions
  - using boolean search
  - using proximity search >
  - using word index
Interpreting search results
Viewing search history
Using the bookbag
 

Using proximity search

Proximity search lets you look for terms based on whether they occur (or do not occur) within a specified distance of each other.

The proximity search query form.


To use the proximity form ...

  1. Use the pulldown button to select a component part of the text to search within (e.g., full text and bibliographic details ). This part will be the context in which all the terms entered in the text boxes will be evaluated.

    Please note: the options available in the pull-down button for selecting search regions is determined by the collections selected. Making changes in the collection filters or in the collection list (steps 3 and 4 below) may change items in the list.

  2. Enter a term or phrase in the first text box. Multiple words in a single box will be treated as a literal string, not separately in an "any word" or "all words" sense. Use an asterisk with a word stem to find variations on the word (e.g., searching for civ* will match civ, civil, civic, and civilian.). All other punctuation will be ignored.

  3. To restrict the search to a range of collections matching certain criteria, select values in the collection filters. Collections matching the criteria will be automatically selected in the collection list (this step is optional).

  4. To manually add or remove collections from the collection list, check or uncheck the checkbox next to a collection name (this step is optional).

  5. If you enter a term or phrase in the second text box, select proximity operators after the first text box to determine the relationship between the first term and the second.

    The maximum distance between the terms is set with the proximity operators:

     proximity operator  approximate distance
    very close less than roughly 40 characters
    close less than roughly 80 characters
    rather close less than roughly 120 characters
    some less than roughly 200 characters

    The distance is measured between the first letters of the terms.
    Note that the character count applies to the source text, which includes markup codes that may occur within the text. Also, each space, period, semicolon etc. is also counted as a character. Therefore, two words that in the text as displayed would seem 75 characters apart, might in the source text more than 80 characters apart, thus not be found when searching within a 'close' distance.

    examples:
    Freedom in the first box, and on the second line the near operator, in the second box justice, followed by (within close distance), would look for all instances of freedom and justice, within roughly 80 characters of each other, and in any order.

    Freedom in the first box, and on the second line the followed by operator, in the second box justice, followed by (within some distance), would look for all instances of freedom followed within roughly 200 characters by justice.

    Freedom in the first box, and on the second line the not followed by / not near operator, in the second box justice, followed by (within rather close distance), would look for all instances of freedom not followed by or near by justice within roughly 120 characters

  6. If you enter a term or phrase in the third text box, select proximity operators after the second text box to determine the relationship between the second term and the third.

    Please note: If you enter terms in all three boxes, the search query will evaluate the proximity relationship between terms 1 and 2 first, and then evaluate the last term.

    example:

    Freedom in the first box,

    on the second line the near operator, Justice in the second box, (within close distance),

    on the third line the not near operator, Poverty in the third box, (within close distance)


    will be evaluated as

    ( freedom within close distance of justice ) not within close distance of poverty


  7. Click the "search checked collections" button to submit the query.

Related topics:

Searching regions
Search tips


back to top
close this window