Easy Search in LexisNexis

Have new noticed the new Easy Search format in LexisNexis? Seems that it’s Lexis’ answer to a more “Google-like” search experience. Here’s what they had to say about it:

Easy Search is a new search form on lexis.com which users may select as an alternative to the current “Terms and Connectors” or “Natural Language” search forms by clicking on a radio button. The new search form is a simple, uncluttered user interface like Google, without the more advanced search options. . . The easy search form is optimized for two or three search terms (like Google) to support “quick and dirty” legal research on lexis.com.

Hmm. I still wasn’t sure how something could be “easier” than Natural Language. I asked Bridget MacMillan, LexisNexis Librarian Relations Consultant, about it and she provided the following:

This is what occurs when a search is conducted with Easy search:
The Easy Search algorithm includes elements of both our Boolean and natural language searches. For example, if a user enters “cat or dog and date=2005,” then the algorithm will work with the Boolean syntax. However, the results will be relevancy ranked like natural language. Also, if Boolean returns zero results, the algorithm will try a natural language search to avoid delivering a no results message to the user. It is a new algorithm, with features of both Boolean and freestyle – Easy Search.

So, I think I understand it now. If your search includes Boolean syntax, it does a Boolean search and returns results in relevance order. If you get no results – or – if your search didn’t include any Boolean syntax, it runs a natural language search instead.