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... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Reinventing Dialog

Marydee Ojala @ 8:43 am

The NewsBreak I wrote about ProQuest giving Dialog a makeover was published earlier this week (23rd of July, to be precise). I wish I could have covered all the technological aspects of PQD (ProQuest Dialog), but that probably would have bored everybody to death. When I was first introduced to Dialog, which was in the Dark Ages of 1976 or 1977, I spent a day and a half in Palo Alto for the initial training sessions. I can’t imagine information professionals — or anyone else, for that matter — giving up that much time to learn a search engine.

Today’s expectations are that search happens quickly, without much thought or effort. What PQD offers is a somewhat different twist on those expectations. Yes, you can do the proverbial “quick and dirty” search. It will work. Careful information professionals, however, will benefit from studying how to effectively use all the bells and whistles PQD has baked into the new system.

Technology is great, but without sufficient content, it’s an empty vessel. Dialog has told us it won’t contain the corporate directory files, the market research databases (no great loss, as they were mostly closed files), and trademarks. It doesn’t mention EconLit, TableBase, LISA, and other files that don’t seem to have made the cut. If your favorite database is not present in PQD, please let me know. Since ProQuest, so far, declines to provide us with a comprehensive list of databases not transferring to PQD from legacy Dialog, it’s up to the users of the system to fill this gap.

Additionally, let’s tell ProQuest what other content should be in the “reinvented” Dialog. What information sources did they never had that they could now add?

I look forward to your suggestions on legacy databases not in PQD and on new databases PQD could add.

1 Comment

  1. A group of law firms have spoken with Dialog about the copyright database and the PIERS databases not being added. We are hoping for a resolve of the issue as it is the best product for this type research. The reasoning behind the removal of the database, they didn’t see a large number of users and revenue being generated. The problem with that analysis is that they didn’t look at the type of users. Most large law firms use Dialog file 120 for copyright research. The overall user base might be smaller but it is a majority of the legal market that is using it. On another note as a user I have been very upset with the way they went about changing the system. The training is not there for the patent system, some of the functionality that was available in the legacy system has been lost. I don’t think that they did a good job consulting with the users of databases to find out what they thought was important before they created this new product. The conversion time is too short and they are not allowing for extensions on time to train before they shut off the old system. The patent databases were not available until September and they are converting in November. There is not enough time to train new users on the system. They are also not allowing for training IDs using the new patent databases. The reasoning is that searching is free and cost is only incurred when you print results. The issue is we need to look at result formats to train people on the best way to present results. No training IDs with the patent databases could mean large costs. I am not impressed with Proquest Dialog and how they are handling the whole conversion process.

    Comment by Kim — October 2, 2013 @ 10:49 am

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