The latest issue of VIP has a comparison of Factiva, LexisNexis and Thomson Business Intelligence Services’ news products. One bit I found interesting was when they looked at the comparative indexing of a sample article:
An interesting exercise is to examine the related indexing terms allocated to the article by each of the three services. We selected the article, Supermarkets set for Christmas online boom, published in the Financial Times on 4 December 2006.
The short article (less than 400 words) examined for the purposes of this exercise covers the plans of three companies – Tesco, Sainsbury and Ocado (the latter sells Waitrose goods online). It also includes quotes from Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), an eRetail industry body. When it comes to fully indexing the item by company, all three services fail – Factiva allocates two Company terms: J Sainsbury and Tesco PLC; LexisNexis allocates just one term: Tesco; and Thomson Business Intelligence allocates two terms: Sainsbury and Waitrose. Ironically, conducting free-text searches on each of these three companies on each service retrieves the same article! Interactive Media in Retail Group isn’t an index term on any service. Thomson Business Intelligence allocates the least terms but they are very relevant. LexisNexis allocates the most terms, including useful NAICS and SIC Codes. Opinions on the usefulness of some of the allocated terms will vary. It’s debatable, for example, just how appropriate terms such as ‘Content & Information Services’ (73%), ‘Information Management’ (74%), and ‘Online Information Vendors’ (70%) relevancies respectively according to Lexis, are for an article on online supermarket shopping. For VIP readers, such descriptors are probably more closely associated with articles from their professional reading, rather than items on electronic retailing.
I was interested to read this as I personally found Nexis’ indexing (especially if you are using industies/subjects to narrow your search) to be next to useless.