lexis nexis

Searching a Segment of a Document

You can limit your keyword search to only a portion of an article or document in the Lexis-Nexis database, such as the byline of a story or the headline and first few paragraphs of an article.

This is called a segment or section search.

Thus if you do a segment search of the headline and lead sentences of a story it will focus your search on stories that prominently mention the keywords you use, rather than stories in which your keywords only appear much further down in a story.

These stories are thus more likely to be about the topic you’re researching, rather than stories that only mention your keywords in passing near the end.

Finding Which Segments are Available

To find which segments of a story or document are available to search, at the main search page click on the link for

Show options to search specific document sections

Then click on the Section pull-down menu to see the different segments you can search.

Doing a Segment Search

First pick a segment to be searched from the Section pull-down menu.

Then type your search terms into the Terms box just below.

When you're done click on the Add to Search button and the segment search with your search terms will appear in the main search box above.

You'll see the name of the segment you selected followed by your search terms in parentheses. You then can further edit your search terms if needed.

Sample Segment Search

For example, let's say you're trying to find stories about how much funding has been provided for mental health in California’s state budgets.

You might select the segment titled:

hlead

That will search only the headline and the lead (the first several paragraphs) of a story.

Then in the Terms box you might type these search terms:

mental health AND california AND budget

This will give you any story in which the headline or the lead few paragraphs contain the phrase mental health along with the word California and the word budget.

If you did this search without specifying a segment, you would retrieve stories in which your search words appear anywhere in a story - even at the end of an article that is mostly about some other topic.

You need to narrow your search to retrieve only stories that are primarily about budgets for mental health programs in California, not stories that just mention the issue in passing. Limiting the search to the hlead segment accomplishes this by only searching for stories in which your search words are prominently displayed in a story.

Then click on the Add to Search button and in the main search box above you'll see this:

hlead (mental health AND california AND budget)

Searching Multiple Segments

You can include two or more segments in your search to further refine your results.

To do this you pick one segment, type in some search terms and click on the Add to Search button.

Then pick a second segment, type in some new search terms, make sure the And connector is selected above and click on the Add to Search button

For example, if you want to find major stories that discredited New York Times reporter Jayson Blair wrote on the Washington, D.C., sniper case, you first would select the New York Times information source.

Then you could do two segment searches like these:

LEAD(sniper)

BYLINE(jayson pre/2 blair)

Which would appear in the main search box as:

LEAD(sniper) and BYLINE(jayson pre/2 blair)

This search would give you only stories authored by Jayson Blair, in which the word sniper was mentioned in the first few paragraphs.

Boolean Connectors in Segment Searches

You can combine segment searches with sophisticated strings of search words using Boolean connectors and parentheses inside of other parentheses to further refine your search.

For example, if you wanted to search for stories written by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward about Bill Clinton, but only those that focused on the scandal involving intern Monica Lewinsky, you might do a search like this:

LEAD (clinton AND (lewinsky OR intern)) AND BYLINE (bob pre/2 woodward)

This would search for stories in which the lead few paragraphs contained the word Clinton and either the word Lewinsky or the word intern, but only those stories that were written by Bob Woodward (including any stories in which Bob Woodward used a middle name or initial in his byline).