"To compare the LEXIS®-NEXIS® service and the Web, it is helpful to view the two in terms of content, search
engine performance and searching tools.
"Beginning with the size of its data warehouse, the LEXIS®-NEXIS® service is distinguished from all other
electronic information sources, including the World Wide Web, by the scope and quality of its online content. On
average, LEXIS-NEXIS adds 14 million documents each week to the nearly one billion documents online. In
comparison, the World Wide Web adds more than 300,000 documents each week to its current estimated total of
39 million documents. In 1995, the amount of LEXIS-NEXIS online information grew nearly 40 percent, or the
equivalent of about six WWWs.
"The World Wide Web offers informational gold amidst the dross of vanity home pages and corporate advertisements. The LEXIS-NEXIS service contains only official documents from public sources or licensed material
from authoritative publishers and information providers. For 25 years, LEXIS-NEXIS has been an expert in
creating systems that insure security, data integrity, billing and near 100 percent up-time, attributes that continue
to elude the Internet.
"Media reports about recent developments in search engines or "spiders" like Alta Vista and Lycos to locate and
index Web pages have turned a spotlight on what used to be a very arcane subject, online search engines.
"Without a doubt, the LEXIS-NEXIS search engine is one of the fastest in the world searching one of the largest
commercial databases in existence. More than 90 million searches were submitted to LEXIS-NEXIS in 1995,
searching more than one terabyte of information, yet most answer sets were returned in around eight seconds. The
LEXIS-NEXIS search engine uses Boolean search commands, a collection of mathematical algorithms that stand
today as the best, most comprehensive method for in-depth research. It is the search method of choice for
librarians, attorneys and professional information brokers who can't afford to overlook any document relevant to a
particular search request.
"Because LEXIS-NEXIS is a full-text information retrieval service, every word is indexed for pinpoint location of
every searchable term. The LEXIS-NEXIS index is always up to date, and the database is always 100 percent
searchable. Even the best of Web spiders typically locate and index less than 95 percent of all web sites and only
search periodically, such as once a week or less often.
"If electronic information is akin to a field of hay, then the current generation of Internet search engines are able to
gather it into haystacks. LEXIS-NEXIS on the other hand provides its customers with tools to find that proverbial
needle in the haystack.
"LEXIS-NEXIS has refined its online system to make searching easier and better. For the infrequent or inexperienced user uncomfortable with the rules of Boolean searching, it has developed other search methods such as
natural language and new graphical user interfaces.
"For precision searching online, the company developed such functions as MODIFY and FOCUS. Using MODIFY,
the user can add words to the search to narrow or expand the scope of the search results, while FOCUS allows the
user to spotlight words within the documents retrieved that were not part of the original search.
"For easier searching, LEXIS-NEXIS in 1993 introduced the FREESTYLE feature, which allows a user to write
a research question in conversational language that may deal with conceptual or complex issues without the need
for Boolean connectors and search logic. Using an evolving technology called associative retrieval, the FREESTYLE answer set is ranked by the relevance of the terms within the documents to the search request.
"For additional precision online, LEXIS-NEXIS provides a thesaurus of related concepts, which aids the user in
thinking of additional search terms. This feature, available in both FREESTYLE and Boolean search formulation,
suggests alternative terms that appear close to the one used by the searcher. RANK is another feature that allows
the user to sort the results according to relevance, rather than chronological order.
"Another refinement for precision searching is the FREESTYLE Search Conversion option. Rather than
reformulating a Boolean search request that resulted in zero documents or in 1,000 or more documents, the
LEXIS-NEXIS user can convert the search to a FREESTYLE search for a guaranteed, manageable answer set.
"LEXIS-NEXIS also has developed intuitive AnswerPak software interfaces for a new breed of information
seeker, searchers typically who are the end-user of the information retrieved, such as marketers, journalists,
financial analysts and sales professionals. AnswerPak products use a graphical interface to guide the user through
search formulation, source selection and document delivery options.
"Moving away from online delivery of information, LEXIS-NEXIS has been an industry leader in developing a
group of current awareness or news alert products. These products employ searches developed by expert LEXIS-NEXIS searchers, or provide the user with a forms-based interface to create an ongoing search of their own, for the
purpose of tracking industry, company or client news.
"The user, who need not subscribe to the LEXIS-NEXIS service, receives the results daily or more frequently via
an enterprise e-mail or groupware system. Another variation of these products allows the user, via e-mail, to
launch an ad-hoc search of the LEXIS-NEXIS database on any topic. These same products soon will be available
via Internet browser." [End of advertisement]