ProQuest Dialog (PQD): The New Dialog
By Amelia KasselVolume 38, Number 1 - January/February 2014
First, a little background. I’ve been using Dialog, then called Lockheed Dialog Information Systems, for online research since 1981 and teaching Dialog to private students since 1994 as part of a program I offer for independent information professionals. I have also been educating LIS students in online research since 2004 at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SJSU SLIS). Despite the fact that the Dialog system, with its hundreds of databases and powerful search options, has been extremely valuable for a range of research needs, many users throughout the years have complained about its complicated search language and antiquated interface. A good number of LIS graduate students, many Google-only users (and other info pro colleagues of mine too), have disliked learning Dialog, and some have been fraught with anxiety about this complex online system. As a long, l-l-o-o-n-n-g-g-time user, however, teaching Dialog has been a labor of love for me.
ProQuest’s acquisition of Dialog in 2008 and comprehensive renovation has changed everything. Here are some words and phrases that come to mind about ProQuest Dialog (PQD) as it is now known:
- Basic, easy, and easier than ever to use
- Advanced, powerful with many search features
- Built-ins such as Help, Drop Down menus, Thesauri, and Look up Terms, which conform to each database; for example, using Gale Group Promt, Look up Terms for:
- Event classification
- NAICS codes
- Product classification
- Tools such as the ProQuest Administration Module (PAM) with usage reports and immediate access to costs and invoices
- Support and Training (support.dialog.com/training/proquestdialog)
- And more
I intended this article to be a deep dive into the new Dialog and have tried my best. Even so, as I continued to explore, I became aware that learning, using, and reporting all PQD’s offerings can be likened to peeling the onion with layers still remaining uncovered. Therefore, I don’t pretend to cover it all. I’ve elected to highlight interfaces—yes, there are more than one, different strokes for different folks—provide an overview of PQD content, and describe some of the valuable search features from the perspective of just one searcher. I’ve also included what I’ve learned about future offerings. Because PQD continues to evolve, changes are likely by the time you read this article. No matter how you cut it, PQD has lavish offerings for many types of searchers and is ready for prime time.
Amelia Kassel has been president and owner of MarketingBase, a global business research firm, which specializes in industry, company, and competitive and market intelligence research, since 1982. A recognized author and international speaker, she conducts seminars for associations and conferences and gives workshops onsite for companies and organizations.