Magazine article Online

Factiva's New "Experience"

Magazine article Online

Factiva's New "Experience"

Article excerpt

Factiva has seen several iterations of its search interface over the last few years. The old Dow Jones Interactive and Reuters Business Briefing services were folded into Factiva.com back in 2001; a more sophisticated search interface was introduced in September 2002; DJI and RBB were shut down in July 2003; and the simpler end-user interface was quietly dropped.

In March 2004, Factiva signaled its move away from yet another simplified version of its search interface and toward an entirely new approach. This new release, described as "a unique user experience for information workers," searches the same content as the Factiva.com advanced search interface, but that's where the similarity ends. In a sense, this new "experience" pushes the intelligence back to the server. This isn't to suggest that information workers aren't intelligent--just that they want a search experience that feels more like Google than a professional online service.

One of the coolest ways to use these new features is by downloading Factiva's new toolbar [global.factiva.com/toolbar]. Yes, not only does the new interface look suspiciously Google-like, but Factiva is fighting with the search engines for browser-bar real estate. It sits underneath your browser bar, right next to whatever other toolbars you have installed.

The first time you go to Factiva.com's Start Page for the new "experience," you will be prompted for the industry in which you work (ranging from Accounting to Transportation), your department (business development, info center/library, manufacturing, and so on), and your country. Note that you can leave both the industry and department information blank, although a geographic region is mandatory. Note, too, that you can update or change these settings at any time, by clicking the "Personalize" link.

The search screen on the Start Page looks more like a search engine than a high-powered online search tool. You see a search box at the top of the screen, links to news on the three most recent companies you searched, and a list of the articles that have been most-often read by other people in your "community"--that is, other Factiva users in your industry, department, and country. Additional community tabs bring up the latest news and Editor's Choice articles in your industry.

What I find most intriguing about the Start Page is that so much of the search process is hidden behind the scenes. You don't select sources; you don't use Boolean logic. …

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