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I’ve Seen the Future of LexisNexis

When I was at ACRL I went to the LexisNexis lunch and took a bunch of notes. Overall, the new interface and functionality seems great. The notes below highlight some of the differences between old and new. Here they are, in their semi-raw form.

Smart Indexing:

  • Index concepts, not words (huh? I didn’t understand that.)
    • Can use English to search foreign language documents
    • Especially good for those times when country names change because any name will point you toward the current “correct” name. (He kept saying there are no “see also” references, but I think he means that this is all done for you behind the scenes.)

Search and terms:

  • New “Power Search” available, though the main search page also allows all the advanced search techniques, it just doesn’t lay them all out for you.
  • Direct quote…. “Power Search has lots of pop-ups to make your life easier.” What it means is that there are a lot of help features available, if you click on the right things. Some tell you how to do something and some help you build your queries by allowing you to click on terms that then get added to your search.
  • Index terms are hierarchically inclusive. Click on a higher level term and it will automatically search lower level terms.
  • Search box is natural language search (unless you do a segment search), so it automatically looks for other versions of the word (truncation) and synonyms, and you have to put quotation marks around phrases.
  • There are index terms for “editorials,” “engagements & weddings” and other kinds of newspaper pieces, so you can search these more easily.
  • There are many more date limiter options.

What you can search:

  • Academic now includes Company Dossiers, so you can find company codes and histories.
  • Newspapers are now grouped differently and with more nuance. You can search “All News” if you want (and if you get more than 3000 hits you can tell it to go ahead and retrieve the 3000 most relevant hits, which results to a relevance-ranked set).
  • Things like “All News” are “Group Files” because they search groups of newspapers. When you select a group file, you can look at the titles you’ll be searching, but you CANNOT click into those titles to see coverage dates or other information about the title. You have to go to their A to Z list. If, however, you choose an “Individual File” (i.e. a file that only has one newspaper in it), you can see all the bibliographic and holdings information. Individual File icons have one piece of paper and Group File icons have two… not easy to distinguish. This also means that if you want to find out which segments are available for searching, you have to find an individual file that’s of the same type (newspaper, transcript, etc) as the documents in your group file. Grrrr.

Search Results:

  • Allows faceting by many things, including language and source type.
  • Will suggest “Did you mean…” for searches. But these are not “smart” or based on the system knowing that there would be more or better results if you use the suggested term. It simply means that you have used a search term that is commonly confused with another search term, and it’ll ask if you meant that other term.
  • Can print, save, or email multiple documents at the same time.
  • No search alerts available.

Other Random Notes:

  • URL API isn’t working properly let. When it does, it will help with the task of Open URL linking. We can also create custom search forms and (possibly) result lists for people. But this is not and will not be something that our faculty or students could use on their own, so they won’t be able to find or create permanent URLs for Moodle or web pages.

4 thoughts on “I’ve Seen the Future of LexisNexis

  1. Thanks for sharing your notes. I’ve been playing around with the beta and finding it a challenge from time to time. It’s going to take a while to get use to the new layout. It reminds me of Westlaw’s Campus Research product.

  2. I actually haven’t taken the time to play with the new beta version yet. Too many students… too little time… too much chance of confusing students who really just need a newspaper article…. But I hope to get a chance to play with it sometime this month.

  3. Since they’ve not yet activated our beta test, can you tell me: is it possible to just retrieve ALL the articles in a particular newspaper for a particular day, or do you still have to put in a keyword?

  4. Excellent Question!

    *logs into Beta*
    *tests*
    *Grrr to multiple layers of menus*

    YES. You can pull up everything from the New York Times published today without entering a keyword. But it’s not easy. Here’s how I did it:

    1) click “power search”
    2) click “find more sources”
    3) hunt around trying to browse through sources but not getting anywhere until I notice the little “Find Sources” button up in the top, left corner. Click that.
    4) Search for “New York Times.”
    5) select “New York Times” from my list of 8 choices.
    6) click “OK, Continue” on the bottom right corner, which takes me back to the search page.
    7) select “Today” from date limiter.
    8) click search.

    Whew. But it works…

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