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ProQuest Dialog (PQD): The New Dialog
By
January/February 2014 Issue

ProQuest Dialog Content

At the time of my investigation (August/September 2013), there were 98 databases on board the new system, not counting patent databases, with plans for reaching 150 soon. At one time, legacy Dialog touted 900 databases and covered almost all areas of knowledge. Some databases were for subscribers only. For years, my account included about 550 databases. This bountiful Dialog system was often referred to as the supermarket of databases and was known as one of the Big Three, along with Factiva and LexisNexis. Occasionally, a file went missing, usually because of licensing issues, lack of use, or a defunct database provider.

Unfortunately, many of those databases will not be part of the PQD system. Comparatively speaking, PQD is a shadow of legacy Dialog from the perspective of content. Directory databases such as D&B, Kompass, and Thomas Register, and others such as Piers Export and Import files, trademark files, and market research files, which had already shrunk to just a handful in recent years, have not been incorporated into the new system. Mergent Company Profiles, Mergent China Private Company Database, and S&P files are additional examples of those no longer available. Nor are Thomson Reuters business databases included, typically databases I used “as needed” in place of otherwise-expensive subscriptions. More specifically, these files are gone:

  • TFSD Initial Public Offerings
  • TFSD Joint Ventures & Alliances
  • TFSD Ownership Database
  • TFSD Worldwide Mergers & Acquisitions

In terms of chemistry, CA Search (the Chemical Abstracts file), ChemSearch (a CAS-produced registry file), and Chemical Industry Notes (CIN) were removed from ProQuest Dialog on Oct. 1, 2012, when CAS and ProQuest could not reach a licensing agreement.

Audrey Marcus, director, product strategy, ProQuest Dialog, explains: “Decisions on content to be available on ProQuest Dialog were made database by database, considering factors including number of users, level of usage, cost to reload, ongoing maintenance cost, availability of comparable content, industry trends and fit with overall strategic focus. A high percentage of non-migrating databases either are no longer updating on Dialog or have very low usage.”

According to Marcus, “PIERs and M&A databases are part of the company information collection, and are not planned for migration.” Marcus adds, “We are notifying customers who have significant use of specific databases individually, because each may have a unique use case.”

Some of the missing databases migrated to the web and offer interactive features or content not available from legacy Dialog. Some, such as ThomasNet.com, are completely free; others mix free searching with an option to purchase individual records. Kompass.com is another example. Or, you can subscribe directly to the database producer. One example is The Directory of Corporate Affiliations (corpor
ateaffiliations.com), also available on LexisNexis. Another is Hoover’s, acquired by D&B several years ago.

In some cases, new content providers have taken up the mantle. While not always as robust as Dialog databases, these free and low-cost providers may be “good enough” alternatives for some information needs. OpenCorporates.com, with 55 million companies in 75 jurisdictions, is a free source, potentially useful in place of D&B worldwide databases as a starting place. Read about how OpenCorporates.com gets its information and what’s included at opencor
porates.com/info/about. Manta.com describes itself as “the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business” (manta.com/coms2/page_about_manta). Users can add their company profiles. Manta touts 87 million company profiles.

What longtime searchers will miss is the functionality legacy Dialog provided. Using Thomas Register Online via Dialog, for example, you could create a table ranking companies by assets. PIERS databases were searchable by product name or product code and a host of other parameters. D&B databases, ABI (from InfoGroup), Kompass, and other company directories were searchable by sales, employee size, and a range of other variables. You could rank files by various parameters and quickly create reports and tables. Simply stated, much of what you could do with Dialog, no other database system provides. Moreover, despite the emergence of new providers, reliability, stability, and accuracy are concerns:

  • Will the website be there when you need it or disappear?
  • How is the information gathered?
  • Is information kept current?
  • Are methods for compiling information legal and ethical?
  • Since some are crowdsourcing sites and contain self-reported information, what about reliability and accuracy? Note, of course, reliability of company databases containing self-reported information is no stranger to fee-based databases.

Some searchers have relied on Dialog’s reliability and stability for their entire careers. The aforementioned concerns were rarely something we worried about.

So how many databases are there? Here’s the final count from Libby Trudell, ProQuest Dialog VP, Strategic Initiatives:

There are currently 99 general databases, when the 4 ProQuest metafiles are each counted as one database. The default is to display the metafiles as single files, but any of the files can be configured to display individually, if the customer prefers to search that way. There are 47 individual databases within the meta files, so the complete number of databases is 95+47 or 142 (95+47) when these are counted separately. In addition, there are all the patents databases. Including the complete list of general databases and the patents collection, there are 182 unique databases.

Because the number varies depending on how it is counted, and because we are adding some additional content on an ongoing basis, we have been saying that there are over 150 databases as a general estimate for now.

Continuing Plus Expanded Content

Despite the fact that a large number of databases are no longer available, ProQuest Dialog comprises an extensive spectrum of quality databases available for business, STM (science, technology, and medicine), and patent research. Marydee Ojala’s July 23, 2013, Infotoday.com NewsBreak (newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/ProQuest-Gives-Dialog-a-Makeover-90918.asp) succinctly described the content:

ProQuest Dialog launches with slightly more than 150 databases, concentrated in four major areas: Patent and Non-Patent Literature, Pharmaceutical and Biomedical, Engineering and Technology, and News and Trade.

For business searchers, key databases are as follows:

  • ABI/INFORM Professional Advanced
  • Business and Industry
  • Gale Group Computer Database
  • Gale Group New Product Announcements/Plus
  • Gale Group Newsletter Database
  • Gale Group PROMT
  • Gale Group PharmaBiomed Business Journals
  • Gale Group Trade & Industry Database

Significantly, ProQuest Dialog added the complete version of ABI/INFORM, which was not part of legacy Dialog. ABI/INFORM Professional Advanced, the new file, is a multidisciplinary business research database with approximately 5,500 scholarly journals, trade magazines, newsletters, and other business resources. About 2,300 current titles are full text. Articles are “indexed and maintained by a team of editorial business classification experts.”

In addition, a news and trade journal collection replaces the old Dialog NewsRoom. Here is a brief overview for each of the news and trade databases:

Dialog Global Reporter covers nearly 700 leading newspapers, business magazines, and newswires from all regions of the world, including emerging markets. Coverage is 2011 forward.

ProQuest Newsstand Professional is a collection of 2,400 leading newspapers and wire services with geographic reach throughout the United States and around the world. Many titles are in full text, with in-depth coverage of each issue and a browsable index for companies, industries, people, and geographies. Everything, from business activity to current events, and from economic conditions to obituaries, is included. ProQuest Professional Newsstand has a deep archive including full-text data from 1983.

World News Connection (WNC) offers more than 830 titles. Compiled from thousands of worldwide media sources, the information in WNC covers significant socioeconomic, political, scientific, technical, envi ronmental issues and current events throughout the world. Updated daily, WNC offers an extensive array of translated and English-language news and information. Coverage is 2006 to current.

Based on this stunning array of business, news, and trade publications, ProQuest Dialog is positioned to succeed Factiva for some users because of its transactional pricing model, discussed below, and because Factiva has priced itself out of the market for small firms, independent information professionals, sporadic users, and others. In fact, a FreePint Survey (“Early Results on FreePint’s News Needs and Preferences Survey: Factiva Changes Making Big Waves,” Robin Neidorf, Sept. 3, 2013; web. freepint.com/go/features/70463) found that 50% of users plan to look for alternatives.

Patent Databases

PQD offers 33 full-text patent databases, specialized features to support the patent collection, and other databases useful for prior art research. The patent collection includes PDFs, claims, specifications, forward and backward, citations, families, legal status tables, and an additional 65 patent authorities within three patent family databases—Derwent, ProQuest Dialog INPADOC, and LexisNexis Univentio.

Dissertations

From time to time, Dissertation Abstracts Online using legacy Dialog has been helpful for some of my projects. The PQD version, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Professionals, has much more, including more than 3 million searchable dissertations and theses from some 800 academic institutions, in multiple languages; some are full text, others appear as citations or abstracts. You can download an A–Z list of ProQuest Dialog Databases and Descriptions at dialog.com/
proquestdialog.

Future offerings from Proquest dialog

Plans for the future include adding separate, subscription-based services for Investext and for a combination of the Economic Intelligence Unit, Emerging Markets Direct, Business Monitor, and the Reportal Database under an ABI Inform database.

Investext

Not part of the current PQD platform, Investext will be subscription-based. Simon Alcock, senior product manager for PQD, says, however, it plans to assess other forms of access. Investext content will be equivalent to the legacy Dialog File 745 with a 10-year backfile to 2003 of company, industry, and topical research reports written by analysts at investment banks, brokerage houses, and consulting firms worldwide. There will be around 1,000 corporate contributors in the Investext database, and Alcock estimates record count at the point of launch will be around 7 million. Of the total list of 1,000 contributors, there will be 765 active contributors going forward from 79 countries around the world. Embargo periods in Investext are determined at the level of the individual corporate contributor, and that period is typically 7 days, although some contributors extend it to 14 days. There is no additional embargo applied to PQD’s implementation of Investext. Investext will be searchable via basic, advanced, and command line. Retrieval of the reports will follow a similar workflow to legacy Dialog, whereby users can link from a Table of Contents in ProQuest Dialog to retrieve the full text of the report via Thomson. Alcock notes: “We are very pleased that we will continue to offer the most comprehensive version of this database that is available outside of Thomson Reuters.”

ABI INFORM Professional Market Research

Another subscription offering separate from the PQD platform is from ABI INFORM Professional Market Research and will cover the Economic Intelligence Unit, Emerging Markets Direct, and Business Monitor International. This PQD subscription service will be supplemented with market news sources and company annual reports. Here is an overview of this collection:

Economist Intelligence Unit

  • 20 comprehensive country economic datasets (economic actuals)
  • 40 Country Forecast Reports providing economic, political, business, and Market Outlooks
  • EIU ViewsWire, which highlights more than 250 important economic, political, and market developments around the world and provides concise analytical briefings on their implications for business

Business Monitor International

Features 25 market and industry sectors spanning more than 100 developed and emerging countries with the following:

  • Market overviews
  • Industry and Country SWOTs (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Political and macroeconomic outlooks
  • Country demographic data
  • Industry trends
  • Medium term industry forecasts, monthly updates, no embargo

Emerging Markets Direct

  • 26 market and industry sectors in eight emerging countries: China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Key features are market research reports written about Asia by native writers in Asia.
  • Includes SWOT analysis, key competitors analysis, and country and industry economics and trading conditions
  • Also includes Intellinews, which delivers market-moving news and reports for Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia; 117 titles to date.
  • Published daily, weekly, and monthly in English with a variety of country sector reports

Reportal Database

  • A global collection of 30,000-plus annual and interim company reports from listed companies on all major exchanges
  • Particular focus on the U.S., Canada, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and India. ProQuest Annual Reports (pre-2008) are also included.


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Amelia Kassel is principal at MarketingBase, a global research firm. She specializes in business, market, CI, and due diligence research.

 

Comments? Contact the editors at editors@onlinesearcher.net

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