Proximity operators are an important tool for focusing the results of free text searches, particularly in full-text databases. Sadly, there is little uniformity in the syntax for proximity searching across various database families. The chart below, created by DHC Head Bob Scott, provides a key to some of the databases found on the Columbia Libraries website. The first column indicates the publisher name and then a few of the resources from that publisher. The next column indicates the syntax for a search of records where the search terms occur within the indicated number of words in either order, and the third column provides the syntax when searching for words, where the second word must follow the first word.
|DATABASE PROVIDER||ANY DIRECTION||DIRECT ORDER|
|ACLS Humanities eBook||proximity search screen||proximity search screen|
|ALEXANDER STREET (American Film Scripts, Early Encounters, Women and Social Movements, etc.||menu choices on advanced search screen|
|CAMBRIDGE (Collections, Histories, Journals)||"galileo inquisition"~10|
|CHADWYCK HEALY (PAO, LION, EEBO, Gerritsen, Patrologia Latina, etc.)||galileo NEAR.10 inquisition||galileo FBY.10 inquisition|
|CSA (Sociological Abstracts, ERIC, etc.)||galileo WITHIN 10 inquisition|
|EBRARY||galileo WITHIN-10 inquisition|
|EBSCO||galileo N10 inquisition||galileo W10 inquisition|
|FACTIVA||galileo near10 inquisition||galileo w/10 inquisition|
|FIND ARTICLES||"galileo inquisition"~10|
|FIRST SEARCH (WorldCat)||galileo n10 inquisition||galileo w/10 inquisition|
|GALE (ECCO, Making of the Modern World, 19th Century American Newspapers, etc.)||galileo N10 inquisition||galileo W10 inquisition|
|galileo AROUND(10) inquisition|
|JSTOR||"galileo inquisition"~10 (or from menu)|
|LEXISNEXIS||galileo W/10 inquisition (or from menu)|
|NETLIBRARY||NEAR (=terms in same sentence)|
|OVID (Medline, Psycinfo, etc.)||galileo ADJ10 inquisition|
|OXFORD (Oxford Scholarship Online, Oxford Reference Online, DNB, ANB)||NONE|
|PROQUEST (ProQuestDirect, Digital Dissertations, Historical Newspapers, APS, etc.)||galileo W/10 inquisition (or from menu)||galileo PRE/10 inquisition|
|WILSON (Readers Guide Full Text, Humanities Full Text, Omnifile Full Text Mega, etc.)||galileo<NEAR/10>inquisition|
For more information about proximity searching in online databases, and for information on which databases allow you to nest and use truncation, please see: Proximity Operators.
Questions? Stop by or call (212-854-2241) the reference desk Sunday-Friday 1-5 pm. Or Ask a Librarian.