ProQuest Dialog

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ProQuest Dialog™ is a subscription-based search portal for both patent and non-patent literature first released by Dialog in August 2010 and formally launched in August of 2013.

ProQuest Dialog was described in a January 2011 article in Searcher by Amelia Kassel, "ProQuest promised a massive undertaking in which it would create one platform that combines Dialog and DataStar and all other Dialog platforms together under one roof."[1] The final product released in 2013 looks very similar to current ProQuest products, but now hosts the huge Dialog database collection.

Both subscription and transactional pricing options are available on ProQuest Dialog.[2]

Major Recent Updates

September 2013 The fully-loaded version of ProQuest Dialog was released to all Dialog customers for a formal, final migration over the August-September 2013 time period. The older Dialog products will remain live and active up until Nov 1, 2013.

January 2013 - According to an update on the Dialog website, "as 2013 unfolds, watch for news about new content upcoming on ProQuest Dialog—the patent collection, additional STM databases, news/trade sources and more."[3]

September 2012 - According to the Dialog website, the following enhancements were added in the September ProQuest Dialog™ release:[4]

  • Alerts. Expanded administrative features and management options, including search histories in Alert attachments and Alert Name and Alert ID in Alerts.
  • Content. Enhanced tabular display in drug pipeline databases and new fields displayed in Inspec.
  • User interface. Enhancements to displays to facilitate review of results.
  • Help files. ProSheets linked to Help files for easier review.
  • Output. New custom options included for email and output normalized for text files and printing.
  • Search. New filters added to some databases in Narrow results by.

April 2011 - ProQuest Dialog is releasing upgrades on a regular basis, and the latest update on April 25, 2011 included new features like:[5]

  • "A new homepage design"
  • "Thesaurus search in MEDLINE and Embase using command line search" or "menu-driven Thesaurus tool"
  • "Post processing, including print, save search, email, cite and export records. In addition, you can now save records as long as you remain in ProQuest Dialog"
  • "Alerts and RSS Feed enhancements, including modifying and resending Alerts and links to full text through e-journal links with OneClick"
  • "Professional My Research, including an administrator module to customize work groups and views"
  • "Transactional pricing preview functions on databases and results pages"

For pricing information, users should contact the customer service numbers provided on the product homepage.



Users can search in specific content areas (Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Chemistry, etc), in one or more databases, or across all databases within ProQuest Dialog. According to the ProQuest Dialog FAQ, the five search options include:[6]

  • Basic Search: Users can "choose to search using words, phrases or naturally expressed queries that may even include 'stop' words, which in the past were not searchable." Boolean and proximity operators can be used in this form.
  • Advanced Search: Users "enter terms and choose to search by specific fields" through drop-down menus. Boolean operators can be used between fields, additional rows can be added as needed, and additional limiters are listed below the search fields.
  • Command Line: Users can view and combine their previous searches in new search queries. The previous searches ("sets") can be combined by parentheses, Boolean operators, and new search terms can be added.
  • Look Up Citation: "All the primary fields for finding citations are available" (title, author, publication title, volume, issue, etc), and users can enter the known bibliographic information in order to find a specific citation.
  • Find Similar: Users can enter "any phrase, sentence, paragraph, abstract or even the full text of a document, and then search for a match to find relevant results."

ProQuest Dialog allows truncation "from the beginning, middle or end of terms."[6] According to the FAQs guide, "the use of the * wildcard truncation expands up to a hard limit of 500 variations and then it stops expanding."[6] The search forms also contain auto functions like:[6]

  • Suggested terms: Users "have the ability to select terms from a drop list that appears as you type."
  • Lemmatization: "ProQuest Dialog looks for the following forms of your search word: British and American spelling, singular, plurals, past/future tenses and different forms of the verb."
  • Did You Mean?: "If you get no results, the search engine searches for one alternative spelling and will include a statement showing you what was searched."

The default homepage includes the basic search form and an image view of the different database industry groups. Users can choose "list view" in order to see all databases listed under the industry areas.

The quick search form on the ProQuest Dialog homepage.

Results List

After a user conducts a search through any of the five search forms, they will be taken to a results list. Users can sort the results by date or relevance. On the right side of the results list, users can further narrow their results through a variety of criteria (Source type, Publication title, Document type, Keyword, etc). If a user chooses to limit the results by publication date through the right sidebar, they can either view the date range as a bar chart or dates chosen through a drop-down menu.[6]

Default listings in the results list include the document title, publication date, database, and number of references of the document. Users can mouse over the result listing to view a preview of the document text. Different icons indicate the format of the document. A check box beside each search result allows users to select specific results. Users can select search results from the results list to:[6]

  • View: Users can display the records as "results listings only," "brief citation," citation and abstract, full text, or original file format.
  • Save to "My Research": Users can organize, save, and share selected results through this function.
  • Email
  • Print
  • Cite in a variety of formats
  • Export citation or references
  • Save as file (PDF, RTF, HTML, text-only)
Users can further narrow their results after conducting a search. They can also save their search or create an alert or RSS feed.

Full Record View

In the full record view, users can tag the document with keywords that later become searchable. The full view allows users to translate the language of the entire document through "on-the-fly" machine translation into one of 14 languages (users can translate the portal interface into 17 different languages).[6] Users can also turn on keyword highlighting within the full text of the document. Finally, users can select to view the document's references, see documents with shared references, or see "similar items, which presents records derived from the search engine based on the document author, keywords, databases and subject headings."[6]

My Research

Users can save their search queries or use queries for Alerts or RSS Feeds. These alerts and RSS feeds can be managed through the "My Research" account. The "My Research" account also has these additional capabilities:[6]

  • "Store documents and previous searches for future reference"
  • "Organize saved documents into different folders"
  • "Set preferences for search results, citation style and language"
  • "Log in from any location using your My Research account sign-in details"
  • "Create widgets that can be used in HTML pages and corporate collaboration sites, such as Microsoft® SharePoint®"

Support and Training

The Dialog website provides a wide range of free training and support materials for users of ProQuest Dialog. When users first visit the product homepage, they have the option of selecting from a horizontal menu of four tabs (Welcome, Databases by Subject, Searching, and FAQs). If users select the FAQs tab, they can download a PDF manual titled ProQuest Dialog FAQs (PDF). This booklet contains an overview of the system, such as technical requirements, pricing information, searching instructions, instructions on refining and viewing search results, and information on the use of special tools, such as the machine translation capabilities, saving and exporting full records or citations, alerts and RSS capabilities, and the "My Research" section where you can save and organize documents.

For more in-depth instructions, users can select the "Searching" tab on the product website to access training modules. The "ProQuest Dialog Search Screencasts" are narrated slideshows that instruct users on basic or advanced searching and the use of the My Research section. The "ProQuest Dialog At A Glance On-Demand Modules" are also narrated slideshows that instruct users in the use of specific features of the system, such as "Citation Look Up" or "Using Truncation and Boolean operators." The "ProQuest Dialog Demos" are the PDF versions of PowerPoint presentations about specific search strategies for different topics, like "Aerospace & Defense" or "Food & Agriculture." Finally, the "ProQuest Dialog Quick Reference Card" is a set of screenshots and instructions in PDF format that guides the user through basic and advanced system functions.

Users can access a wide range of training material through the Dialog website, including Screencasts, On-Demand Modules, and Demos.

If users want database-specific information, they can utilize the ProQuest Dialog ProSheets. These PDF documents are similar to the Dialog Blusheets and DataStar Datasheets. They describe the date and subject coverage of the database, the update frequency, and they list the available search fields, browse fields, and limit options for the database.

ProSheets are similar to Dialog Bluesheets, since they list the coverage and available fields for each database.

Finally, users can access free live training sessions for ProQuest Dialog. These web-based training sessions cover introductory material, expert searching, searching for biomedical information, and searching for engineering and technology information. Users must register ahead of time for these hour-long sessions, and registration is free through the Dialog website.


  1. Kassel, Amelia. "The New ProQuest What's." Searcher. Vol 19, Issue 1. January/February 2011. Pages 12-17/50-55. Accessed on May 17, 2011.
  2. ”ProQuest Dialog Pricing Information.” Dialog website, Accessed February 22, 2012.
  3. "Looking ahead to 2013." Dialog website, Accessed January 13, 2013.
  4. "ProQuest Dialog new release refines, enhances and adds features." Dialog website, Accessed November 9, 2012.
  5. ”ProQuest Dialog latest release offers a wealth of exciting new features.” The Chronolog, May 2011. Accessed May 17, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 "ProQuest Dialog FAQ 2011." Dialog website, Accessed May 17, 2011.

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