Research Tools - Spring 2000

LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe Arrives At The Library

A new database called LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe is now available for students researching topics for various projects. LEX1S-NEXIS Academic Universe's electronic database is multi-disciplinary, with news, business, legal information, medicine, and reference covered, principally in full-text.
The flexibility of this resource in aiding students of various disciplines and computer searching abilities is one of the greatest strengths of this database. For those students who are not familiar with the commands and search strategy necessary to conduct intricate searches, Academic Universe provides a menu-driven approach to extract information. For example, the News topic enables the user to choose among several options to narrow the search for information. General News, Today's News, World News, or U.S. News are all options to assist the user in focusing a search for information. Once a narrowing option has been chosen, the user can then search using the Basic search option, which entails the use of a keyword to he typed in by the user. The keyword option will search for articles that use the word(s) in the title, lead paragraph or as indexing terms that are used to categorize an article. For more advanced searchers, the More Options choice allows searching to be narrowed by enabling the user to locate articles using terms within the title, lead paragraph or body of the text. Full-text searching, for advanced users, allows the use of proximity variables, which enable material to be retrieved only if search terms are within a particular sentence, paragraph or a specified word distance away, up to 255 words. Truncation is permitted for all terms when searching for information.
Lexis-Nexis has long been associated with assisting users in searching For both legal and news materials. Academic Universe upholds this tradition with federal and state legislation and case law as well as access to regional and national newspapers, but adds other subject areas as well. Business information is available for news, SEC filings, company financials, comparison information of companies, and industry profiles. Medical resources include Medline (which is not full-text), as well as some full-text medical journals. However, the ability to search in both the basic and advanced formats is still allowed. The Reference section includes files for the World Almanac, quotations, polls and surveys, country information (demographic, financial and political) and a biographical section.
Despite the broad and comprehensive coverage of many subject areas, Academic Universe is not a replacement for such heavily used databases as First Search and Infotrac. Quite to the contrary, these databases complement rather than compete with Academic Universe. First Search, for example, is principally a bibliographic database; while it indexes comprehensively many academic journals and covers a multitude of topics, it is full-text only in Wilson Select. Infotrac also indexes many scholarly publications on a variety of subjects and is approximately 60% Full-text. Academic Universe, however, is better at covering general news and includes full-text for most articles, most notably The New York Times.
Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe can be accessed from the Electronic Index page off the Library homepage. Due to licensing agreements, it is available only from on-campus.

David Marks