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Lexis-Nexis offers Web service

The popular legal and news search firm is launching an ambitious Web service aimed at the business user.

Lexis-Nexis, the popular legal and news search firm today is launching an ambitious Web service aimed at the business user.

Dubbed "Lexis-Nexis Universe," the project, consisting of a suite of Web products, "is the most integrated product we have launched yet," said Lesley Sprigg, spokeswoman for the company. "We are going after desktops in corporate enterprises."

"It allows the average knowledge worker to have access to one of the world's most powerful databases," she said.

Of course, it does not come for free. While there are thousands of free advertiser-supported news sites, Lexis-Nexis is clearly hoping that people are willing to pay a premium--this service will be customized based on content, the number of users, and contract duration--for a service with its reputation.

The company has long offered services online, but the Web interface will allow it to reach people with no special training to use the legal and news information.

The product includes five subscription offerings: news, news and company, finance, public records, and vertical industries.

Lexis-Nexis's product, P-Trak helped stir one of the Internet's first serious privacy controversies more than two years ago by putting information online. But now the company has gone into overdrive to ensure customer privacy and has a very stringent privacy policy in a continuing effort to bring its business online.