Lexis-Nexis is one of the world's largest online database services. Online database services are like supermarkets of databases. These services provide access to many different databases through a single search interface. Often, other companies--called database producers--create the databases which are then made available through one or more database service. All types of databases may be available from database services, often including many very specialized databases that are not available from other sources. Generally, users of a database service are required to have an account with the service before they can do any searches.

Lexis-Nexis contains thousands of publications which provide extensive sources of information in the areas of law, news, business, finance, government, medicine, technology and other subjects. Most publications in Lexis-Nexis are available in full-text, but very few academic journals are included. The only two subject areas in which Lexis-Nexis does have extensive coverage of academic journals are law and medicine. The service includes the full-text of a large number of law review journals and medical journal article abstracts are available through a version of the Medline database. (Another online information service--Dialog--has the most extensive coverage of academic journals in all subject areas.) Dates of coverage for many of the publications in Lexis-Nexis go back to the 1980's, with many of the legal documents (state and federal case law, statutes, law reviews, etc.) dating back earlier. Files are updated continuously.

Research areas

Because it has such an extensive coverage of full-text publications, Lexis-Nexis provides the opportunity to do the most detailed searching for research topics related to:


Lexis started in 1973 as the first major computer-assisted legal research service. Initially, the service focused on building a comprehensive selection of legal documents (state and federal case law, statutes, law reviews, etc.) In 1979, a new service, called Nexis, was created to include the full-text of news publications (beginning with the first full-text online version of the New York Times). Nexis has expanded to include international, national and regional newspapers, new services, magazines, and television and radio broadcast transcripts, including CNN and National Public Radio programs.

Today, Lexis-Nexis is essentially one combined online database service of thousands of files, organized into about 150 categories, called libraries. 1.3 million professionals worldwide - lawyers, accountants, financial analysts, journalists, law enforcement officials, information specialists and others- subscribe to the Lexis-Nexis services. They perform more than 300,000 searches per day. The combined services contain more than 18,600 sources: 13,800 news and business sources and 4,800 legal sources.

To search for information in Lexis-Nexis, users must log on to the service and then select a library and a file to search.

Skyline Library has an educational account for use by Skyline students, faculty and staff for course-related research. Students should be in (or have completed training in the use of Lexis-Nexis in a Skyline course that provides such training (e.g., LSCI 105). Only one user at a time may access Lexis-Nexis. No access from home is available. The college pays a flat monthly fee for unlimited educational use of Lexis-Nexis, however businesses that subscribe to the service for their research needs must pay fees according to the number and type of files accessed, the amount of time online and/or the number of documents viewed, printed or downloaded.

For more general information on the Lexis-Nexis service, click here to access the Lexis-Nexis web site.


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last revised: 3-20-00 by Eric Brenner, Skyline College, San Bruno, CA

These materials may be used for educational purposes if you inform and credit the author and cite the source as: LSCI 105 Online Research. All commercial rights are reserved. To contact the author, send comments or suggestions to: Eric Brenner at brenner@smcccd.cc.ca.us