Magazine article Online

Magazine article Online

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Online spotlight

Factiva, formed back in mid-1999 by the folks who brought us Dow Jones Interactive and Reuters Business Briefing, rolled out its new flagship product, (, this summer. While it is still a work in progress, it's a step forward for both DJI and RBB users. For starters, it combines the sources from the two original products, bringing the total number of publications available to 8,000. The user interface is intuitive enough for a new user, while still incorporating power searcher tools on the main search page.

The first time you sign on as a new user, you are taken directly to a set-up page that lets you customize some of the defaults, including your time zone, date format, and whether you want non-English content searched (and if so, what content languages you want searched). Enterprise administrators can set these options for all subscribers within their organization. If you proceed on to the personalization pages for each of the areas within Factiva-Search, Track, and News Pages-you will find additional defaults you can modify.

The Search screen will look familiar to many Dow Jones Interactive users. You have your free-text search box, you have your date field, you have your source lists, and so on. All are compressed onto single lines with a "+" to indicate additional choices underneath-a nice way of offering lots of choices in an uncluttered format. Type in a search and you get a search results page with title, source, date, and the first couple of sentences of each article. One welcome addition to is a free display format that includes indexing terms, a favorite tool of experienced searchers. In fact, finally allows users to design their own output format. You're only charged if you include the text of the article ($2.95), keyword in context ($.75), or bibliographic citation plus lead paragraph ($,75).

In addition to periodical articles, searches now include images (Reuters news photographs), selected material from Web sites, and company reports, although you can set your preferences to exclude any of these types of sources. One of the new features of is consistent indexing across all sources. This is, of course, a mixed blessing. You lose some of the specialized indexing terms that aggregators add to documents, but you gain the ability to search all publications, regardless of content language, with the same standardized terms. …

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