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dialog profound

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Service/portal name: Profound, also known as Dialog Profound is a service of Dialog, a Thomson business.

It can be accessed on the Web at http://www.profound.com or via the product listings or the Dialog Corporate Web site at http:www.dialog.com, and the UI version can be found at http://www.profound.co.uk.

This discussion and evaluation was completed via the Web interface or http://www.profound.com.

Source description: Dialog is known as “the worldwide leader in providing online-based information services to organizations seeking competitive advantages in such fields as business, science engineering, finance, and law.”

Dialog’s Prodund allows business professionals to track companies, regions, industries, products and people worldwide.

It allows users to analyze markets, track competitors, monitor product activities, identify emerging markets, and gather in-depth financial and investment data. Profound also offers a wide range of international market research reports.

Pricing: Profound may be especially well suited to nonprofessional searchers, as there are no searching or browsing fees.

This means that you do not have the stress of watching your “connect time” while you search.

When you find an article or report that you think is pertinent to your search, you are able to review the price before purchasing it.

For market research reports, the table of contents for each report is available for viewing before purchasing and the sections that contain your search terms are highlighted.

This feature makes it easy to identify which sections are most relevant to your search and saves you money by allowing you to purchase them separately.

Many sections are available you to purchase them separately. Many sections are available at very reasonable prices.

This is a great feature and is not always available in other database products. Newspaper and magazine articles, for instance, are often available for purchase at $2.95 each.

This is comparable to other oline information providers such as Factiva which also charges $2.95 per article.

Source content: Although the evaluation section of this summary of Profound will focus primarily on the WorldSearch feature.

I will also review all content areas available through service. Profound represents more than 750 industries in its diverse set of databases.

Content is divided into three primary sections: WorldSearch, QuickSearch, and Briefings, with this later section being further broken down into Market, Company, Investment, and Country Briefings. For easier access, the main page identifies these as six separate links.

• WorldSearch. Drilling down further into each of these sections, we find that WorldSearch contains

(1) ResearchLine, with more than 130,000 market research reports from such companies as Frost & Sullivan, Datamonitor, EIU and Euromonitor,

(2) Dialog NewsRoom, with more than 7,500 sources of international news, trade, consumer, and scholarly publications, and

(3) CountryLine, with information on overseas markets using economic, political, and social indicators.

• QuickSearch. The second major section. QuickSearch, contains

(1) Company Information, with financial, product, and investment data on companies, searchable by region, industry, company, and numerous other factors,

(2) Intellectual Property, offering international patent and trademark information,

(3) Research & Development, with in-depth technical and scientific research covering a range of industries: Aerospace, Biosciences & Biotechnology, Chemical, Energy & Environment, Engineering, Food Science & Agriculture, Materials Science, Medical & Pharmaceutical, Medical Journals, Pharmaceutical Newsletters, and Scientific Articles,

(4) North American Newspapers, with full-text U.S. and Canadian newspapers, searchable by region, and

(5) TableBase, providing tabular data about businesses and markets around the world.

• Briefings. The third major section, Briefings, is further broken down into

(1) Company Briefings, offering more than twelve thousand briefings and snapshots on companies,

(2) Market Briefings, with more than six hundred briefings and snapshots from a multitude of industries,

(3) Country Briefings, with more than one hundred briefings and snapshots on counries around the world, and

(4) Investment Briefings, providing more than twelve thousand investment briefings from Market Guide.

Source evaluation: A subscriber to Dialog Profound is provided full access to all of the content available through the service.

In this section I will evaluate the product by four categories: content, searching, training and support, and administrative issues.

This analysis will be followed by a more in-depth review of WorldSearch section of the service.

• Content. Profound offers a wide range of business research, ranging from its market research reports to newspaper articles, and the sources of content are clearly identified.

Also, when the timeliness of the content is a key issue, Profound describes how often the information is updated.

For instance, in the area of stock quotes, Profound provides details of how many minutes the information is delayed from source such as the New York Stock Exchange.

More in-depth information on sources and content can be found at the Website http://www.dialog.com/sources/sourcebook/additionalsources and http://www.dialog.com/sources.

• Searching. The search interfaces within the various sections can be Profound are easy to learn and use.

The screens are intuitive and provide a number of search options. Novice searchers can use keywords or simply enter information into various well labeled search boxes. Expert searchers can also choose to use more advanced Boolean search techniques.

Searching is aided by a “behind the scenes” taxonomy called InfoSort. This indexing system, an integral part of Profound, helps direct searchers to either the preferred terms of use for improved retrieval or to broader, narrower, and other related terms that might prove useful in their search.

A small magnifying-glass icon can be found next to the areas where the InforSort thesaurus is available.

For instance, if a user enters the term US within the Locations search field of WorldSearch then clicks on the magnifying glass icon to browse and then of Preferred Term, USA will be suggested as the indexing term to use for a more precise search.

• Training and Support. Profound offers an online dem (http://www.dialog.com/products/profound/demo/movie.html) this is an easy-to-follow tutorial and can be scrolled through at the user’s own pace.

It provides clear information on what the various sections can be used for and what information included in each, and offers tips on how to search efficiently Fast Start for Dialog Profound, a downloadable thirty-six-pay PDF file (http://training.dialog.com/sem_info/course/pdf_serfast_start_profound.pdf), is designed to familiarize the new use with the basic features and content of Dialog Prodund.

Customer support is available by e-mail, online via the Web interface, and by telephone.

Dialog also includes in-person training for Profund (among its many workshops held in various locations throughout the United States and around the world). In addition to these classes, a user may also be assigned a person account manager for more customized support.

• Administrative Issues. In addition to being able to train searches via sub-accounts so that different projects can be tracked separately if necessary, users can also review a twenty eight-day history of searches that have taken place.

For instance, one can review all reports and files accessed on any one day by simply using the Dossier feature and clicking on a specific day.

It is also possible to review statements online so that you can see a record of daily and monthly expenses.

These two features, Dossier and Statement, are great examples of good, customer-fiendly product design. There are no extra charges for the user of these features.

Users also have the opportunity to edit preferences for many of these administrative functions.

For instance, if you do not want to see the price of a report or an article unless it exceeds a certain dollar value, you can select “Notify when price exceeds $x” – then you will not be shown prices or asked to confirm when the dollar value is less than specified.

Additional preferences available for editing include displays, default databases to search, and setting up customer subaccounts.

You can also create Alerts in Profound. The Alert feature allows you to set up automatic searches for a particular subject, to run either daily, weekly, or monthly. The resulting Alerts are then delivered via e-mail.

The Alert Manager is the administrative function that allows a user to create, edit, or delete these Alerts.

Worldsearch. The WorldSearch section of Profound provides a different set of information than that described in the Source Content section above. An example will help explain this feature.

Let’s say that a nonexpert searchers, a business professional, wants to gain some general information on the publishing industry, along with some potential details on trends or key players.

Shows the main search screen for WorldSearch. Note that the Market Sector chosen is Publishing, the Database chosen is All, the Location chosen is USA, and under Free Text, the terms trends or key players have been entered.

Although it is also possible for a user to be more specific and include more keywords, this example will illustrate how diverse the findings can be.

When the search button is pressed, the results are shown, categorized by the various databases selected (e.g., ResearchLine and NewsLine).

If a database is found not to include any content for a particular search, this is noted by the phrase “No Titles Found.”

After reviewing the findings in this example, it is determined that there are many reports that might be of value for this research question.

The user sees one report that might be of value for this research question. The user sees one report under ResearchLine that looks like a good source and clicks on the title link.

The item is titled “Book Publishers in the U.S., “the vendor is IBIS, and the date is November 2002.

Clicking on the hyperlink reveals the table of contents screen shown in. The screen continues down in this name manner, showing the table of contents in detailed categories with a price listed next to each section.

The user can then elect to purchase an entire report or a subset of the report by clicking on the section.

The title and price are shown again, and the user is asked to click on the “I accept” button.

This feature is a wonderful double-check for the timid or beginning searcher and often comes in handy for an experienced searched working at 1:00 a.m. with bleary eyes!

The entire report might be a bit expensive at $916, bust section of it are more reasonable.

And there are likely to be many section within this report that will be of use to our user, especially those under Industry Conditions, Industry Participants, and Industry Outlook, the latter of which is priced at $70.

Although some of the sources within Profound are available via other database aggregators, such as Factiva or LexisNexis, or even via their own Web site subscription (PR Newswire for example) this somewhat intuitive interface, along with the additional support of the downlodable manual and the online tutorial, provides good value for the price.

It is especially nice to searchw without learning complicated search syntax, to have the prices so clearly identified, and to search without concern aabout connect time.

Client testimonials on Profound can be found in the About Profound section of the Web site.

Among the positive features cited are “depth and breadth of information,” “easy to use screens and search facilities,” and “ability to narrow focus and not pay for entire reports.”

The fact that Profound has the Dialog name behind it also lends the product immediate credibility in the areas of authoritativeness, accuracy, and timeliness of sources.

Source value rating: All of the data source reviewers were asked to rate each source on the basis of the following eight categories using “10” as the highest rating and “1” as the lowest (“80” being a perfect score):

1. Relative cost-to-value:   9
2. Relative timeliness of data:   10
3. Relative comprehensiveness of data:  9
4. Ease of use:     9
5. Search options available:   9
6. Level of support services:   9
7. Level of training offered:   10
8. Amount/kinds of special services offered: 10
Total Rating:     75

Useful tips
• Use the InforSort Theasaurus to obtain additional potential search terms and to learn new terms used in an industry with which you are unfamiliar.

• Because searching is free, you should make good use of duplicate searches with varying keywords.

• Profound is a good starting point for industry, company, and marketing information.

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