Manfred Kuechler
11 November 1999
(last updated: 30 October 2001)

Important Note (26 November 2002)
Lexis-Nexis introduced a new user interface over the summer of 2002. There are still no persistent links; worse yet, the work around described below does no longer work. Submitting an URL of the kind described below, simply leads to a message saying:
" We are unable to process your request. You may be submitting a previous request that has expired. Please review your request, then submit it again."
However, there is no "Return to Search" button which would lead to an already  filled out search form.  Maybe, this can be achieved in other ways, but so far I have not come up with a solution.

Note on links to documents in the Lexis-Nexis data base


Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe is a licensed online data base available at all CUNY campuses (and a large number of academic institutions across the United States). This data base contains the full text of newspaper articles, business and financial information, health information, federal, state & international legal materials, and more. It is a extremely useful resource for courses in almost any discipline.

On campus access. Access to Lexis-Nexis is restricted by "IP address", a number that identifies every computer connected to the Internet. Without additional arrangements, students and faculty can access this data base from computers with CUNY IP addresses (for the most part, on campus computers) only.

Off campus access. Access from off campus (home) requires the use of the "library bar code" (typically on a sticker attached to your Hunter ID card), also called "RPA" access. Click the green house icon next to the Lexis-Nexis entry on the "licensed resources" web page of either CUNY or Hunter
Off campus access can also be obtained via use of a "proxy server". There is both a CUNY proxy server (currently not available to students) and a Hunter proxy server (also available to students) -- and other CUNY campuses may have proxy servers as well. Details about getting an account on the Hunter proxy server and how to set up the web browser (MS Internet Explorer or Netscape).

Bookmarks or "deep links". As is may take some time to find a specific document in the Lexis-Nexis data base, it is much more efficient (especially for class use) to "bookmark" the actual document by saving the "URL" for this document, so that a student can simply click on a link in an html formatted document (or an ERes course page) and get the document -- without redoing the search. But technique is also useful for faculty or student research, as it eliminates the need to download each found document immediately. Also, when writing a paper in htm format, such links can be used as references given the user a chance to connect to the cited document -- within certain limits to be discussed below.
Such URLs (resulting from a search in a large data base) are typically very long, so it is best to copy-and-paste when setting up a link. Examples of such links are:

Be aware that some proxy servers may not support deep links; in the past, the CUNY proxy server did not support such links to Lexis-Nexis, whereas the Hunter proxy server did and currently still does. But a proxy server administrator  may make changes without notice.

However, such URLs (to documents in data bases -- also referred to as "deep links") are often not "persistent", i.e. they may work for a day or two and then they go bad. Unfortunately, Lexis-Nexis falls into this category -- whereas InfoTrac (another very useful licensed resource) switched to persistent links in the summer of 1999; unfortunately, CUNY license for this data base expired on September 30, 2001. EBSCO Host which CUNY licensed as a replacement does offer persistent links, but it takes an extra step to retrieve such links (they do not appear in the address/location box of the browser).

The good news is that with Lexis-Nexis the links do not go all bad and it becomes easy to redo the search -- as long as the "access mode" to Lexis-Nexis is the same, i.e., the same proxy server is used or RPA ("bar code') access is used both when saving the link and revisiting the search.

Here is what happens when you try to use a "deep link" that has expired:

So, the "deep link" does not get you to the document directly, but all it takes are two more mouse clicks -- provided the initial search was sufficiently restricted to yield only one document.

Note for people saving up the deep link:

When you start searching, it is unlikely that your search will yield exactly one document. However, after you have found the document, it is easy to tailor a search so that it yields exactly the one who want to refer to by restricting the date to exactly one day and/or adding additional keywords.

Bottom line: "Deep linking" can be done with Lexis-Nexis, it just takes a bit more effort when setting it up, and two additional mouse clicks for the viewer/reader later on -- but the access mode (proxy server or RPA) must be the same. (Because the encrypted IP address of the server used to get access to the Lexis-Nexis data base is part of the URL.)