Lexis is currently working on an update to Lexis Advance that will bring some big changes to how the interface looks and add some nice improvements.  Unfortunately, the new release won’t be available until September (which will make things a bit tricky for those of us that would like to use Lexis Advance in our legal research classes).  I haven’t had a chance to play with it “live,” but I’ve attended a few demos and done a click-through training and I’ve got a few first impressions on some of the improvements.  Here’s a YouTube preview if you’re interested.

The new look is definitely more appealing to the eye and I think law students will be quite pleased with it.  There’s a lot more white space, and the changes have made the results list and the documents themselves much more readable.  I’m not sure if it was the text or the spacing, but it always seemed like a bit of a chore to read through a document on the current Lexis Advance.

In addition to the look, there were a few other things that I liked quite a bit.  Shepard’s summary information is now shown in a box to the right of the document.  This seems like it will give the researcher a nice quick look at some of the treatment before they dive into the full Shepard’s Report.

Statutes and Administrative Codes now have a Table of Contents button to the left of the text.  This allows researchers to easily expand the Table of Contents while still looking at the section in question, which will be very helpful for statutory research.  I think the visibility of the button will help remind new researchers the importance of expanding the Table of Contents and looking at the statutory scheme, something they often forget.  Now if only Lexis would add the statutory indexes.

The other thing I like is that footnote text now appears to be searchable.  The inability to search footnotes in law review articles is a major problem in the current version of Lexis Advance and I’m glad it looks like it will be corrected.

While I like several of these new features, I will be most interested to play around with the search functionality to see if it has improved.  I have had some success with the current Lexis Advance, but many times I have been left wondering about its relevance ranking.  Hopefully, these improvements I’ve seen aren’t the end of making Lexis Advance better.