Proximity Searching Now Available in PubMed 

The following update is an exciting improvement for advanced searching in PubMed. For more information about advanced searching in PubMed see the PubMed User Guide. You can also view the proximity searching tutorial for more examples and information about proximity searching in PubMed. 

The recent search upgrade now means you can search for multiple terms appearing in any order within a specified distance of one another in the [Title] or [Title/Abstract] fields in PubMed. 

For example, to search PubMed for citations where the terms “hip” and “pain” appear with no more than two words between them in the Title/Abstract search field, try the search: “hip pain”[Title/Abstract:~2] 

Search results may include hip pain, hip-related pain, hip joint pain, hip/groin pain, hip biomechanics and pain, pain after total hip arthroplasty, pain in right hip, and more. 

To build a proximity search in PubMed, enter terms using the following format: 

“search terms”[field:~N] 

  • Search terms = Two or more words enclosed in double quotes. 
  • Field = The search field tag for the [Title] or [Title/Abstract] fields. You can also abbreviate using [ti] and [tiab]. 
  • N = The maximum number of words that may appear between your search terms. 

Proximity searching is not compatible with truncation (*). If the double quoted terms in a proximity search include a wildcard (*), the proximity operator will be ignored. 

Remember to always start your PubMed searches using Emory’s instance of PubMed to ensure that you have access to subscribed content. 

For more assistance, contact us at Ask a Librarian.