An observant visitor to Dialog's site might browse the current list of Dialog products and now find something new listed under "desktop applications" (http://www.dialog.com/info/ products/desktop-index.shtml). While it has not yet been announced or even rolled out officially to the Dialog sales force, Dialog IQ is now available. Dialog IQ is an easy-to-use desktop application designed for both corporate knowledge workers and inexperienced searchers. The small program file (160 KB) can be downloaded for free (at http://www.dialogiq.com) and offers easy searching from a simple search bar with a text box that resides on a user's desktop. Dialog IQ provides a single access point from which to search global news and business information within Dialog, DataStar, and Profound.
The search bar allows users to select a search module from a pull-down menu that offers content areas within the three Dialog search services. For example, users can select Business News & Trade Journals, Company Profiles, Analyst Reports, or World News for a search within Dialog databases. Users still need separate accounts and passwords to access the three services. Dialog IQ offers the convenience of a single login but not with a single password. Passwords need to be entered only once in the application.
The search bar is very simple by design—no extra boxes to select dates or language—just the search module selection and the box to type in text or drag-and-drop text to be searched. Clicking on the "tips" icon will bring suggestions, such as "use Boolean operators" or "leave out words like Corp., Inc." Results of searches are returned in a standard Web browser, either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. By default, results are presented by latest date first.
Customers can access certain Dialog and DataStar databases that include analyst reports, business news, trade journals, company profiles, and world news. The entire Profound collection is available, including Newsline. So, it's a subset of the vast content in Dialog's storehouse, but it's content that's most often needed by end-users in corporations. Dialog stresses that its strength is quick, precise access to authoritative information. Once the program is installed, the application sits unobtrusively on a user's desktop and is available whenever needed.
When I first looked at Dialog IQ, I wondered whether it represented an upgrade to the old WebCheck (or WebTop PDA), a desktop Internet search tool that I had tried and then quickly uninstalled. Paul Colucci, Dialog's senior vice president of product development, told me that it was not derived from WebCheck, but a newly developed application. He said the idea for a tool for knowledge workers had come from Dialog's clients. He sees the product as reaching a new audience within corporations, especially for workers who need information quickly while they're working in applications like Word, Excel, or in a CRM program. He wants Dialog IQ to mean "Information Quickly" for these workers. Colucci stressed that Dialog worked closely with its core information professional customers to identify information service needs. He claims that Dialog IQ is one more tool in the information professional's arsenal that could be offered to end-user clients, along with other Dialog products such as Dialog1.
For customers with a Dialog password, Dialog IQ actually logs into Dialog Select. Searching within Dialog IQ is free (i.e., no DialUnits), with users incurring charges for downloaded information. Transactional prices depend on each customer's specific service contract, and all charges are represented on customers' current accounts.
Colucci noted that Dialog IQ is initially focused on providing business information, but that it could possibly be extended to offer other types, such as pharmaceutical or scientific information, based on the response to the application and feedback from customers.
[I extend my thanks to the keen-eyed Gary Price and his Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk (http://resourceshelf.blogspot.com) for tipping me off to the availability of Dialog IQ.]