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Citation Tools in Sawyer Library Databases: LexisNexis Academic

How to Create Formatted Citations Using Database Tools in Our Online Resources

Using Bibliographic Export Functionality in LexisNexis Academic

In December of 2011, LexisNexis Academic added the ability to download bibliographic information in .RIS format.  This allows users to pull citations into services like Zotero and EndNote, as well as export them to RefWorks (for more on this tool, see the RefWorks Resource Guide).

More importantly, besides the download/export function, users can also display citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago formats right on the screen.  Here's how:


After you perform a search and open a document to cite, look for the task icons in the gray title bar near the top.





Click the fourth icon for exporting a reference to do citation tasks.






The good news is that LNA now gives you a cite. (See example below.)    


The bad news is that this cite is currently quite inaccurate in every example we've seen!


Consider this example of a database-produced MLA citation downloaded in January 2012:

The author of our MLA citation guide found the following errors (as underlined above):

  • Lexis seems to incorporate the word ‘by,’ as in By Jane Brody, into the author’s name.
  • The publication title should be italicized, and the ‘The’ is omitted.
  • The date should not be written out, and should not appear in parentheses. 
  • MLA wants the newspaper’s edition and page numbers, and when none are available, then ‘n.pag.’ is used. 
  • MLA does not want the word count of the article in a reference.
  • The final date is understood to be the date accessed, and MLA does not label it as Date Accessed. In addition, the formating of the date should not include slashes but should read     3 Jan. 2012.


Since the actual form of the citation is often wrong in multiple ways AND their citation also does not have the correct line formatting when you copy and paste it from their HTML page, it is probably more trouble than it is worth because you'll have to tweak the reference significantly to make it accurate.


As of now, we would actually suggest that you NOT use this tool.  If you do use it, please be advised that you MUST edit it for accuracy.  You are the one being graded by your professor, not LexisNexis.  So the responsibility is ultimately yours.


We have contacted the company and asked them to address our concerns.


For more on this functionality, from LNA themselves, see this page: and see the "Display Option."

Library Contact

Sarah Griffis's picture
Sarah Griffis
Mildred F. Sawyer Library
73 Tremont St.
Boston, MA
617 573 8532