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Assigned 9/7. Due 9/14 at 9:30am
Readings:   Modern IR, Ch. 1, 4.1 - 4.3

Assignment 2: Searching with Lexis-Nexis

Note: this assignment was updated on the morning of Monday Sept 11 to reflect the fact that the underlying web interface changed over the weekend. Please check for changes from the handout.

Submit this assignment.

View responses to this assignment (available after 11am, Thursday Sept 14).


The goals of this assignment are to:

The questions below are intended to get you started and give you some guidance ... Mainly you should view this as an opportunity to learn by doing and exploring. Feel free to talk with other students about it but do your own work. You may even get to research something that you are interested in!


First, you need to get a Lexis-Nexis account. Once you have an account, you can use the software on the computers in the lab as well as the web interface. Sign on using the account number that you got from the signup sheet at this address: If you missed the account sheet, get your number from Roberta. While you're doing the exercises below you might get signed off. Don't worry about it if this happens, just sign on again.

Getting Started

Use the online help pages to see how to use the system. (The following may no longer be true of the new interface.) Much of the online help applies to different lexis-nexis interfaces, not just the web interface, so try not to get too confused by it. Also, some of the features described in help are not visible until after you select a source (from the lefthand side of the web interace) and run a query. For example, you can't do Focus until after you've run a query.

Turning in the Assignment

We're going to use an online system for submitting assignments. You can use whatever word processing system you'd like. Just cut and paste your answers into the assignment submit form. The only HTML tags you must insert are a <P> at the start of each paragraph. You may use other tags if you want to, but it is not necessary.

Everyone will turn in their assignments online. After the deadline is passed, everyone will be able to view everyone else's homework assignments online. (Assignments will be posted at 11am Thursday Sept 14th)


(1) Search for articles talking about former US president Ronald Reagan's alzheimer's disease, first using a news source and then using a medical source.

(2) This question refers to power search, not regular search.

Read through the help pages for Boolean searches. Read about Connectors, including changing connector sequences and combining connectors. (Connector is another word for operator.)

(3) This question refers to power search, not regular search.

Lexis-Nexis has its own notion of precedence ordering. Read about Combining Connectors.

(4) Do a search in which you specify some kind of metadata (other than date or title) such as author. How did you specify it? (Hint -- metadata is called Segments in lexis-nexis.)

(5) Use lexis-nexis to answer these questions: How much did California state senator Dianne Feinstein pay for her house in San Francisco? How much did Bill and Hillary Clinton pay for their house in New York? How did you find this information?

(6) Use lexis-nexis to find the official criminal charges against O.J. Simpson. What source and query did you use?

(7-8) For two queries/topics that are of interest to you: