If you're old enough, you'll remember LexisNexis (especially the Nexis part) as a revelation - a way to search through tons of news articles, features, papers and more to research a topic or a person without having to wade through the endless green rows of "Readers' Guides." It has stayed relevant because of its focus - the Lexis part of the name refers to legal searches - and innovation. Its latest is a new semantic "brain" to power its search.

According to the official announcement, "The next-generation semantic search technology identifies the meaning of multiple concepts within a single search query to help users zero in on core concepts faster and make fewer revisions to their search queries."

This "brain" will power the company's patent products, TotalPatent and PatentOptimizer, as well as on Lexis.com.

LexisNexis made its first foray into the perennially-attractive field of semantic search a year and a half ago. The new engine improves on the basic foundation, according to the company.

"Semantic search uses the science of meaning in language to produce highly relevant search results...The new semantic search technology takes this science to the next level by enhancing its ability to identify multiple concepts contained within a single search query. Thus, if a patent researcher asks the LexisNexis search engine to find information about a complex subject, the new semantic brain will actually identify various possible ideas contained in that request and return related concepts for each idea in their query."

The company has also launched the "Visualize & Compare" tool that allows users to compare and analyze any two or three result sets or lists of patents, providing a visual representation of the information the "brain" finds and presents semantically.

Semantic search, most famously in Ask Jeeves, the earlier iteration of Ask.com, is attractive but complex. That search engine was known, among other things, for hilariously inappropriate responses to seemingly simple questions. Smaller corporate databases responded to the semantic elements better and perhaps that will be the case with LexisNexis's rollout of their search.

Other sources: ResourceBlog