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Tips for Searching News Aggregators

Newspaper aggregators like Nexis Uni and Factiva contain enormous amounts of information. Because of their size, simple keyword searches often bring back too many results, or many results that are not relevant. To counter this, aggregators often provide users with sophisticated search tools like proximity operators. Proximity operators are operators that allow the searcher to specify the distance between keywords within a document. By using these operators, searchers are able to retrieve more concise and relevant sets of records. Some common operators include:

  • (W) or ()  retrieves terms adjacent to each other and in the exact order specified


  • (nW) n is the number of words that should separate the terms in the order specified.


  •  (N) retrieves terms adjacent to each other but in any order.  


  • (nN) n is the # of words that should separate the terms in either order.


The exact syntax used for proximity operators often varies by database, so be sure to look at the database's “help” screen for additional information.