Proximity Search Now Available in PubMed

NISO Member News

NLM Technical Bulletin, November 29, 2022

The National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce proximity search capabilities have been added to PubMed. Users can now search for multiple terms appearing in any order within a specified distance of one another in the [Title] or [Title/Abstract] fields.

How to Build a Proximity Search in PubMed

To create 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.
  • N = The maximum number of words that may appear between your search terms.

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.

See the PubMed User Guide and view the proximity searching tutorial for more examples and information about proximity searching in PubMed.

For additional information, including the useful FAQ, review the full text announcement!