Why I hate Lexis-Nexis

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In this day and age of Google, I simply can’t understand why the world’s best-known database of news and legal documents is so super bad.

As any of you who has worked in academia, journalism or the law know, Lexis-Nexis has long been the go-to source for previously published information on your topic of interest. I’ve used it for years, since way back in the Paleolithic era when it was accessed only through small, red computers. Today, it’s web-based, and it’s undergone countless upgrades.

But when I logged on five minutes ago and typed in the name of a well-known person I’m researching, it spewed out all of eight articles, most of them unhelpful. Narrowing the search won’t help (how much narrower can I get than eight articles?). Adding Boolean connectors and expanding the search period give me 83 articles, but many are totally off point.

So off I go to Google, where typing in the subject’s name and title gives me 52,700 hits. Google News is just one click away, where I land only 18 articles—but all of topmost relevance.

Nexis has a competitor called Factiva that’s owned by Dow Jones and whose specialty is financial news. But both are pricey, and, if they weren’t covered by my employer, would be inaccessible to me. No big loss, I’m thinking.

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