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Proximity search

Especially when searching on the internet it is a very common problem that, when searching on a couple of keywords, results are listed in which the keywords are merely scattered in different sections of the website, without any relation to each other. A proximity search may be helpful. When applied, one makes sure that the keywords need to be within a certain range of each other, thus making it more likely that they are related to each other.

Proximity searches are usually executed with the operator: NEAR. For example: mobile NEAR phone. Some databases give the option to define the range of proximity. The EBSCO databases work with the N operator, and give the option to state a range. For example: mobile N3 phone. Google does not work with the Near operator, but with the similar AROUND operator. 

It may be clear that, though the proximity option is usually available, the operator varies from search engine to search engine. Therefore, always check the ‘help’ or ‘advanced search’ menu to check the exact operators the engine works with.