Nexis and Factiva: orientation recap

September 3rd, 2010 by Jack

What are Nexis and Factiva?  They are commercial competitors that archive the backfiles of thousands of publications, including newspapers, magazines, newsletters, transcripts and other material, such as major blogs.  (As Barbara Gray said, “the rich man’s Google.”)

  • The difference between the two services is not significant.
  • Since it’s owned by Dow Jones, Factiva has the exlusive online full text content of the DJ wires, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters wires.
  • The command languages are different, but the functions are the same.

 Using the services–key points:

  • It is expected that this type of background work should be performed for every work assignment to bring context and details to the story. 
  • It should bring to light any article that’s already been written on the topic, person, event or company. 
  • For the most part, these publications have been vetted for errors. 
  • This is searching the deep web, that which doesn’t show up when search engines crawl the web.  Cannot get this stuff on Google, for the most part.
  • It’s all tagged/indexed consistently, resulting in more precise results.

To help you use the services, Barbara has compiled separate guides for Nexis and Factiva.

Jack’s bonus tip: Access World News archives backfiles of many smaller publications not found in Nexis or Factiva, including AM New York, Metro, and the Staten Island Advance back to 1991.  To find where any given publication is archived online, use our Research Center’s E-Journal Search.

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