The autumn of information literacy (2): subject search in LexisNexis

8 Nov

Just as with the previous ‘autumn’ post on statistics, the aim of the present one is to illustrate a specific search need (news on a topic, in the case of LexisNexis Academic), building both on older posts on this issue and on several questions from UvA students and staff I have been dealing with in the course of 2013.

Let’s say I want to search both US and Dutch News for articles on youth and the media. Some English search terms I may come up with for the two concepts are the following:

– youth, girl, boy, teen, teenager, adolescent, child, toddler, baby, infant

– media, internet, social media, games, twitter, facebook, television, film, book, reading, digital, Ipad, computer, tablet, pc, socialbesitas, chat, webcam, groom, cyberbullying, multitasking

LexisNexis will in most cases automatically search for spelling variants singular/plural, i.e. ‘girl’ searches ‘girls’ as well, but ‘child’ does not search for ‘children’. Being an exclamation mark the character accepted by LexisNexis for replacing any number of letters at the end of a word, the search strings I am going to use in the database in order to fetch all (plural) variants look therefore like these (complete with the OR connectors):

– youth OR girl OR boy OR teen OR teenager OR adolescent OR child! OR toddler OR baby OR infant

– media OR internet OR social media OR games OR twitter OR facebook OR television OR film OR books OR reading OR digital OR Ipad OR computer OR tablet OR pc OR socialbesitas OR chat! OR webcam! OR groom! OR cyberbullying OR multitask!

After having selected the sources I want to search (Major US Newspapers; screenshot A, 1 to 5, click to enlarge), I will combine the above search strings with each other in Power Search, also adding the following three “Subjects” from the Index Terms: adolescents, children, students & student life, and thereafter choosing for Match any terms (screenshot B-C, 6 to 9).

subject search LN A

subject search LN B

Thereafter I will most likely want to limit the search by date (screenshot C, 10) and I may want to limit it by section as well, i.e. determine in which part(s) of the article my search is performed: HEADLINE or HLEAD (headline + first paragraph) being two interesting options (screenshot C, 11).

subject search LN C

What about Dutch news or, more generally speaking, news in other languages than English? The major difference is that the use of Index Terms (needless to say: particularly helpful when searching for a topic) is not possible, since such terms are not added to most non-English sources in LexisNexis.

After having the search strings translated into the preferred language and matched them to the relevant sources (same steps needed as for the example above), my best option is to limit the search by section, with HLEAD as favourite option (screenshot D). Practical applications of this strategy, just as of the one described for the news in English, so far confirm it as convenient for finding relevant newspapers articles on a given subject with LexisNexis Academic.

Should any reader, who has not only been patient enough to read the whole post, but has also got any clue which may help improve the above search strategy, I’ll be more than happy to hear her/his feedback.

subject search LN D

One Response to “The autumn of information literacy (2): subject search in LexisNexis”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Subject search in LexisNexis | Library 333 - 22 August 2014

    […] Questions about the news database LexisNexis keep coming from UvA-students and -staff: reason enough to re-post the following (I’ve been using it several times when answering questions) from my old blog. […]

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