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Dialog Releases Dialog Portals Service
Posted On October 13, 2003
Dialog, which became part of The Thomson Corp. about 3 years ago and in turn acquired NewsEdge Corp., has been working hard to integrate and enhance its technologies to the next level of functionality and offer new products to the marketplace. Now, making what Dialog says is the first of some very significant announcements, it has released Dialog Portals, its new service for integrating content into enterprise portals. A major selling point for the new offering is that it is compatible with nine of the leading portal software providers, which Dialog says is the broadest array available from any information services company in the portals market.

The first release of Dialog Portals enables plug-and-play access to a wide range of Dialog news, business, and current awareness content. The next release of Dialog Portals, expected to be available next year, will add STM (science, technology, and medical) and intellectual property content and additional capabilities. The content is drawn from the full "information warehouse" of Dialog's content, as offered on its various services (Dialog, Dialog DataStar, Dialog Profound, and NewsEdge). The Dialog online services today aggregate information from approximately 200,000 sources worldwide.

"With its broad content options and wide compatibility, Dialog Portals clearly is now the best-of-field choice for portal and intranet managers," said Roy Martin, Dialog president and CEO. "We're leveraging our decades of experience as a producer of online information services and an aggregator of information for research, and applying Web-based portal and intranet tools to offer a total solutions package for enterprises around the world."

The new product integrates the portals software that NewsEdge has offered with Dialog's Intranet Toolkit software, which launched about 4 years ago. Charlie White, Dialog's director of alliances, said Dialog Portals is the culmination of bringing technologies together and enhancing the capabilities as a natural evolutionary course in the company's enterprise solutions.

White stressed the plug-and-play advantage. Because the product is essentially a portlet publishing tool (bundles of software and applications), the applications are already built and Dialog Portals "can work out of the gate" with an enterprise's portal software. There's no up-front programming required from a company's IT department. A company can choose a set of modules, which includes a base of Dialog content, add any desired premium content, and then just "turn it on."

Each portlet functions like a mini-application and offers both community personalization (for a function, business unit, or department) and individual end-user personalization. In addition to displaying chosen filtered feeds of information and real-time updates, each portlet can offer flexible searching options, from single to multiple files, using Dialog's search forms. White called them mini-research pages. Martin noted that Dialog Portals also allows Dialog content to coexist with other third-party licensed content and content from internal databases.

Users can choose what they want to see on their portal pages, including company and financial information, current news, and even weather for multiple specified regions. Actually, it lets users have an enterprise portal view that is similar to, and feels as comfortable as, what they might choose on the open Web, such as My Yahoo! with its personalization features.

Martin stressed the advanced customization features of Dialog Portals. "We've created a service that is highly flexible. It allows enterprises to configure external information into their portal environments in whatever manner best serves their unique design and structure, and to do so department by department," he said. "At the same time, the advanced functionality gives portals users a tremendous range of options for easily finding the real-world information they need to make better decisions and be more successful in their jobs."

Martin said the company would also be making available a full API (application programming interface) for Dialog, which it had never done before. (NewsEdge has offered a news API for some years.) This API, along with Dialog Portals, will provide the technology platform for a sophisticated array of customizable solutions for customers. Over the next year, the company will integrate all its current intranet tools into one broad-based package of tools for customers.

Dialog Portals is fully compatible with these portal software systems: ATG Portal, BEA WebLogic Portal, Computer Associates CleverPath Portal, IBM Websphere Portal, Microsoft SharePoint Portal, Oracle 9iAS Portal, Plumtree Portal, Sun ONE Portal and Vignette Application Portal (formerly Epicentric).

"Our mission with Dialog Portals is to get the right information in front of enterprise portal users when and how they need it," said Martin. "We're delighted to be working with so many of the portal industry's leading and most innovative providers."

For more information on Dialog Portals, visit

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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