Magazine article Online

Factiva Search 2.0

Magazine article Online

Factiva Search 2.0

Article excerpt

Users of Factiva [global.factiva.com] may have noticed a newlink at the top of their search screens, inviting them to "Try Factiva Search 2.0 Beta." Click there and you're pointed to preview.factiva.com. The first time you try out Search 2.0, you are prompted for information on your region, industry, and job function (as you were when you first logged on to the end-user-friendly Start Page). This information is used to tweak the relevance ranking of search results.

Once you've filled out this basic profile information, you are taken to the Search 2.0 page, with its Googlelike white expanse and a single search box. By the time you read this, Search 2.0 will have replaced the Start Page, and it's even more minimalist than Start. You type in your search term(s), and you see the results. Note that, like Start, you have limited search options. The default for multiple words is AND--you can specify a phrase search with quotation marks, indicate a NOT with a minus sign, truncate with an asterisk (librar*), and indicate a wild card with a question mark (globali?ation). As I write this, there is no Advanced Search option, but it should be included when Search 2.0 goes out of beta.

Interestingly, it also includes a Googlelike "did you mean?" response for a misspelled word. For example, a search for mars sattellite retrieves no results, but the search results page asks "Did you mean: mars satellite".

Although the fact isn't prominently displayed, note that you are limited to results from the past 90 days and that there isn't a way to override this date restriction. Because of the date limitation, you are searching about two-thirds of the sources within Factiva--any publication that has been discontinued or not updated within the past 90 days won't be included in the search results. Interestingly, Factiva is not wedded to the 90-day restriction; in a conversation with a Factiva product manager, I learned that the company will be "letting the market tell [it]" whether to retain the 90-day limit or to expand the search to earlier material.

What's really intriguing is the newly designed search results page. In addition to the citations and snippets that Factiva users are accustomed to, there is a "Discovery Pane" along the right side of the screen, which provides the first truly user-friendly data visualization tools of any of the major online services.

At the top of the Discovery Pane is a bar chart that shows the distribution of retrieved articles by week. …

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