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Review about gale group new product

11 Comments · Marketing Research, Measurement instruments

Alternate/previous data source names: Gale Group New Products Announcements/Plus (NPA/Plus)

SERVICE/PORTAL NAME: NPA/Plus, File 621 in Dialog Classic on the Web (http://www.dialogclassic.com), and also available through Dialog’s proprietary software service. Available through some industry channels on Dialog1 on the Web.

Source description: Gale Group New Product Announcements/Plus (NPA/Plus) is more than just new product announcements (thus the “Plus”).

Anyone who has spent time weeding through article database results chock-full of press releases knows how prolific some companies can be with this type of material.

Although an annoyance in some circumstance, press releases can also be valuable when you are tracking the release of new products and a company’s publicly stated strategies and directions. NPA/Plus serves this purpose to a tee.

The NPA/Plus database is available through all of the iterations of Dialog, through the Web, and through the Dialog software.

For the purposes of this review I evaluated the product by using Dialog Classic on the Web (http://www.dialogclassic.com) and the Dialog 1 News and Industry Channels, also on the Web (http://www.dialog1.com).

An understanding of basic Dialog search syntax will be useful to make the most of this product, but the database can be searched with ease, using a few simple commands.

Pricing: $3.45 per full-text press release, plus connection costs. The database is priced through Dialog, based on the amount of material actually retrieved and viewed, so reular users will wlant to familiarize themselves with the overall pricing structure of Dialog.

Source content: The press releases included in the NPA/Plus database go back through 1985 and are updated daily with current content.

Now numbering more than one million separate releases, they come from the PR Newswire, Business Wire, and other press release wires.

The material included covers just about every industry, business, and geographical area, with no particular emphasis.

It is important to note that, unlike coverage of a company or subject in business publications, press release coverage depends entirely on the company itself, and the depth of information available in the NPA/Plus database will be determined by their public relations efforts.

The full text of the press releases as put out on the wires by the issuing company is presented, indexed by Gale with a handful of searchable fields. These include company name, trade or branch name, and product category name.

Note in the use of the question mark (?) for truncating the terms to pick up both singular and plural. Also note the combination of sets and the limiting by publication year (PY=2002:2003) to narrow down the search results to the most recent material.

The data can be exported as full text or just headlines, though advanced users of Dialog may want to try other search result options, such as keywords-in context.

Keep in mind that most companies append a bit of self-hyping material at the end of their press releases, so if you are passing this material on to others, you may want to remove this material from all but the first press release on the same company.

The Dialog search syntax used to get this list, “T 8/6/20-23,” basically says “Type out the results for Search Set 8 in Format 6 (brief citations) for the 20th to 23rd articles in the search results.”

NPA/Plus provides only press releases and not any proprietary material from trade publications and business journals, so the researcher might be tempted to ask why one would pay for what is essentially free content.

Certainly, one alternative would be to track down the Web site of the company or organization you are interested in and then search for press releases on that one site.

Both PR Newsire and Business Wire also provide a limited amount of free current material on their Web sites, with archival material available for a fee.

But none of the free sources of press releases provide the full search functionality of NPA/Plus, or the depth of coverage.

Source evaluation: Keeping in mind that this resource is providing only an easier way to search and retrieve what is essentially free material – company press releases – you would be hard-pressed to find another source as comprehensive and as easily searchable as Gale’s New Product Announcements/Plus.

Given its limited content, it might be easy to dismiss NPA/Plus as unnecessary. However, it remains a critical resource for looking at a competitor or an industry over time or trying to track new product announcements in a given space.

It is also a valuable source for legal work involving identifying “prior art” and other historical material.

Back files of historical press releases are available through other sources for a fee, but with the NPA/Plus file you get a comprehensiveness that other products simply do not provide.

A savvy searcher who does not necessarily need to see the full text of each press release but just wants to see the titles and dates can get a lot out of this product without incurring too much cost.

The data in NPA/Plus is extremely timely, up to the current date, and goes back through 1985.

There are no limitations on older records, so finding a company’s press releases from 1985 is just as easy as finding those fjrom 2003. Again, knowledge of general Dialog search syntax is useful here, especially whenlimiting by date.

The coverage is only as extensive as what is provided by the companies issuing press releases, and can be representative only of what companies actually take the trouble to put out.

Not finding something mentioned in the NPA/Plus database is no indication that it doesn’t exist, nor should a plethora of press releases on a product be taken as an indication of the product’s actual popularity.

In general, it is quite easy to search this resource, using either free text terms or the company name, trade name, and product-type fields.

If I had not been familiar with the Dialog interface from previous research, I would probably have found the product a bit harder to use.

An important tool is the Bluesheet for the product, which can be downloaded from the main Dialog site (http://library.dialog.com/bluesheets/html/b10621.html) and is well worth consulting before beginning any research.

Bluesheet includes all of the searchable fields in this database, a list of charges for the product, and a thorough product description.

It is unlikely that any researcher will have access to only this one file and not to other material in Dialog, so the technical support would include both general Dialog support and support from Gale for this specific product.

Either way, both Dialog and Gale offer plenty of support for their products, and the folks at Dialog are generally more than willing to walk the researcher through any search process to get the necessary results.

Although contract prices for Dialog can differ greatly, I am not aware of any additional support costs, and it is in the company’s interest to train users to use their products effectively.

Overall, I would rate this as an excellent product for exactly the purpose it is meant to serve: to provide a comprehensive database of press releases going back over time and across all industries.

The one complaint I have with the product is that the “Plus” means that the database now includes financial statements, executive changes, and just about any other press release issues by companies.

It is no longer focused on new product announcements, and that can be a bit frustrating at times when trying to home in on that type of material.

But by using good search vocabulary, even a beginner researcher should have no problem pulling out relevant material.

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:   7
2. Relative timeliness of data:   10
3. Relative comprehensiveness of data:  9
4. Ease of use:     8
5. Search options available:   9
6. Level of support services:   9
7. Level of training offered:   8
8. Amount/kinds of special services offered: 7
Total Rating     67

Useful tips
• Use company, trade name, and product-type codes to obtain the most relevant search results.

• Remove duplicate material in numerous releses from the same company.

• Keep in mind that all material is self-generated and does not necessarily represent any type of third-party verification or objective valiadation of information in the relese.

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