Advanced Searching Using LexisNexis Academic

It’s difficult to report, research, write, fact-check, and publish without wading into the territory of commercial databases like LexisNexis or Dow Jones FACTIVA.

This session will build on last term’s refresher, and will help to make search a more efficient exercise, yielding timely and useful results.

Let’s first refresh our recollection of the new LexisNexis Academic interface.



The large search window provides a clean surface on which to build your search strategy

The search by content type will be most useful when determining the type of sources you will be searching and the kind of content your search results will yield.

Your first order of business is to familiarize yourself with what’s behind the search by content type tab.

News-All News is the option of choice for most news searchers; there are other content options – legal, companies, people…




Select news-all news

Once you have made make your selection, notice that the widgets at the bottom of the page will disappear

Select advanced options



Advanced options lets you use precision search tools to hone your search and provide the best results.

Selecting the source type is critical in determining the quality of the results you will retrieve.

If you are only after newspaper reports that appear in the New York press, that option is available:

  • Select Advanced Options
  • Choose Newspapers
  • Scroll down to Geographic Location, and select New York State


Search for a magazine story only, or create a basket by combining sources.

  • Select Advanced Options
  • Choose Magazines or add Newspapers and Blogs

You may also want to grab specific types of articles – reviews, interviews, op-eds – make that selection from the article type option.


In addition to to the Boolean and, or, and not, Lexis Nexis Academic provides several precision search tools and connectors which, when used as part of your search strategy, will make for a more efficient use of your time as you use smart search strategies to produce targeted results.


Seven essential tools that will make the LexisNexis search experience a profitable one:

Hlead…..  finds results which contain your search terms in the headline and lead paragraph.  Sample: hlead (spitzer) w/35 assault or chok!

W/n…..  allows you to find your search terms within a certain number of words of each other.  Won’t affect word order.  Sample: de blasio w/35 iowa and stump or campaign w/35 hillary 

Byline….. finds articles written by someone.  Sample:  byline (Fred Kerber)

Atleastn….. Great tool when looking for profiles or features;will return documents that contain your search term atleast a certain number of times.  Sample: lloyd w/3 blankfein and atleast8 (blankfein) and date aft 2014

Length>or <…..  used to find articles with a certain number of words.  Sample:  hlead (san bernadino) w/25 shoot! or terror! and length>1000

Publication….. search for articles from a specific journal or newspaper, or magazine.  Sample:  publication (washington post) and date is 2/15/2016

 !……………… for words with multiple endings.  Sample: industr! yields industry, industrial, industrialization, industries


The build your own segment search lets you use those familiar segments, commands and connectors to narrow your search and produce more targeted results.


In-Class Drills:

  1. Looking for reviews of the film American Sniper
  • Select search by content type
  • Choose news-all news
  • Select advanced options
  • Select previous month from the date drop-down menu
  • Select article type movie reviews
  • Click apply
  • In the search window, type American sniper

Note:  the results list defaults to a rank order by relevance; you can change that to view newest or oldest reviews first.

Use left navigation bar for additional viewing options.



  1. Looking for the transcript of Sunday’s Meet the Press
  • Select search by content type
  • Choose newsbroadcast transcripts
  • Select advanced options
  • Choose date options
  • Choose NBC News from the sources group
  • Click apply
  • In the search window type meet w/3 press or meet the press 


  1. Looking for recent clips in the national press about disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
  • Select search by content type
  • Choose news-all news
  • Select advanced options
  • Choose date options
  • Source type defaults to newspapers; add magazines, blogs, business and industry news
  • Click apply
  • Use precision search tools to craft your search; e.g. hlead (sheldon silver) and atleast5(silver) and assembly and length>800
  • Click search


Advanced Searching using Dow Jones FACTIVA  

Factiva opens in the search tab and with the free text search form, but before we begin to create searches, let’s have a loo at what else Factiva offers.

Business reporters can take full advantage of the company/markets tab; use it to search for company information – quick profile, stock prices, industry and market competition.

Use the company tab to find a quick snapshot of McDonald’s Corporation.  Use the left navigation bar to ferret out key news or developments, current litigation issues, management moves, earnings announcements, and more.

Click on the quotes tab to find current and two years worth of historical stock prices, market indexes, and currency exchange rates.  In-Class Drill:   Find the daily high, low and close for Apple Inc. for the past month

Compare stock performances against peers, and common market indexes with the tab for market data charts.  In-Class Drill:  Compare the stock performance of Time Warner (TWX) and the Walt Disney Company (DIS)

Factiva’s news tab offers a glimpse of the latest news drawn from about 10 top news publications 

Factiva’s search tabs defaults to a free text search form with a three-month window of news from all sources.

Not unlike LexisNexis Academic, the search window gives the user full control to create targeted searches using Boolean search connectors, segment searching, and other precision search tools.

Of the Boolean connectors, AND and OR take top billing.


Eight key commands that provide greater efficiency when searching Factiva

Terms in the headline and lead paragraph:            hlp=interest rates

Words in proximity to each other:                             housing near15 foreclosures

Words appearing in the same paragraph                consumer same debt

Search for an author (byline):                                    by=david gergen

Length of an article:                                                      wc>1,000

Articles with many mentions of a term                  atleast5 deficit

Articles appearing in the same publication             sn=wall street journal

An * after a word will search for words with multiple endings   educat* will return results with multiple endings education, educator, educate


Selecting a Source(s)

Click on the all sources tab to confine your search to a specific publication or select from a group of sources.

For Example:

  • Select Source Category – All Sources/Top Sources
  • Click on:  Major News and Business Publications
  • Select:  Major News and Business Publications – U.S.

The + at left lets you drill down to specific titles.  You can also type in your source publication




In-Class Drills: 

1. Any clips on Chip Wilson founder of Lululemon Athletica Inc. since he stepped down from the clothing company’s board about a year ago

2. Find article appearing in the Wall Street Journal this year, which discusses the white     working class and their support of the Trump candidacy

3. Find pieces written by Felicia Schwartz this year

4. Looking for profiles of Janet Yellin, chair of the Federal Reserve