Magazine article Information Today

Mead Data Delivers End-User Searching with Easy Search

Magazine article Information Today

Mead Data Delivers End-User Searching with Easy Search

Article excerpt

Mead Data Central, home of LEXIS and NEXIS, has finally made an entrance into the end-user searching game. Mead has long been on the sidelines of this competition; Dialog, by comparison, brought out its first major end-user product, DIALOG Business Connection, nearly a decade ago. It is puzzling why Mead waited so long. With their vast labyrinthine libraries and their command interfaces, LEXIS and NEXIS have long deterred would-be searchers among their lawyer, reporter, and researcher clienteles. End-user customers want simplified interfaces, and Mead has finally got the message.

Easy Search provides menu-driven searching of popular topics in several LEXIS and NEXIS libraries. This fall Mead has greatly expanded the range of Easy Search, so that it reaches into virtually every major content area in LEXIS and NEXIS. Easy Search uses simple menus and prompts to develop a search query, which is then automatically translated into a command string and searched. Up to this point Easy Search works well, but it falls short in the remaining steps of the search process. After the search results have been posted, Easy Search pulls off the training wheels and leaves you on your own.

TURBO ORIGINS

Easy Search is actually a host-mounted version of Mead's Turbo PC software. Turbo contains menus, prompts, and preformatted command strings for constructing the search offline. Turbo then logs on and conducts the search. There are several versions of Turbo for different kinds of searches on legal, financial, and news subjects. However, as a PC-based interface, Turbo suffers from two major limitations. First of all, it is not easily updated to reflect changes on the host. Secondly, you have yet another piece of software to deal with, or more, if you want to use more than one Turbo program.

EASY SEARCH PATHS IN LEXIS AN NEXIS

Basically, Easy Search is the Turbo menus, commands, and preformatted searches mounted on the host. "EASY" is listed as a main item on the main LEXIS/NEXIS library selection screen. Once in Easy Search, you can select among three broad topic clusters--Legal, General News and Information, and Worldwide Business--each of which is further subdivided into more specific topics. The submenus in each topic cluster demonstrate the range of Easy Search:

(Figure 1 omitted)

Each selection leads to a set of menus and prompts where a specific query is developed. Each of these individual pathways is customized to the characteristics of the search and the library. for example, to look for recent stories on rod Everhart, Mead Data's new president, you are asked to fill in last name; first name; related subject words; and date range. …

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