Friday, April 10, 2009

LexisNexis Academic = Great for Finding Court Cases

One of our most versatile resources, this database provides access to scholarly research, newspaper articles, business data, and legal materials. It allows its users to search the archives of specific newspapers or journals, including the local paper like the Post Register and national ones like The New York Times. The legal tab provides options for searching tax law, federal and state cases, Shepard’s Citations, as well as federal and state laws (the database uses the word “code” here). In the business tab you can search for company-specific information: its history, current value of their stocks, names of its executives, contact information, and more. For help with this resource, talk to the librarians at the reference desk.

I just helped a student today find some Idaho case called State v. Guzman, which he knew had taken place in 1992. Under the Legal tab, LexisNexis allows you to input case names by providing two empty search boxes with a "v." between them. When we searched for "State v. Guzman" there were about 200 results that turned up, and we even had specified "Idaho" as a source or option. When he keyed "Idaho State v. Guzman," we found it right away.

LexisNexis Academic seems to be a lot more user friendly than it used to be a few years ago, but many still consider it to be user unfriendly. The way they display the results it not useful--the typeface does not make it easy to separate the different elements of the result. It can still be a very powerful database, though.


Anonymous said...

LexisNexis Academic is extremely expensive, extremely hard to use, and not of much value outside of business and law areas. We have had it for over a year and students do not like it. The one exception that we do like is that it has the full-text of the New York Times that fills the gap between our historical NYT database and the present. There are much better ways to spend your money for online resources like EBSCO and Wilson.

Spencer said...

Yes, I believe many would agree with you on the points you make. EBSCO stands out as my favorite database vendor, but LexisNexis is not as hard to use as it used to be a few years ago. I'm glad they updated their interface.