Friday, May 16, 2014

Dialog indexing

Module 1
Database: collection of machine-readable information accessible through a computer aka a file.

Record: discrete information unit

Field: distinct information part

Information producer/provider company compiling database records, responsible for content

Professional online service search system providing multiple database access

Database types
Full text Complete text of document
Directory Factual information about organization, companies, people, products, materials
Numeric Data in tabular/statistically manipulated form, with added text
Hybrid Mix of full text, citation and abstract records

Constructing a database
1. Create a linear file of records received. Assign sequential accession numbers, uniquely.
2. Label record files – au (author), ti (title). If field is word-indexed, label words within field. Exclude stop words.
3. Create the base index – all words and phrases from fields containing subject-related terms.
4. Create the additional index – all terms from remaining fields.

Basic index field = suffixed fields
SELECT commands search the Basic index unless term is qualified by suffix. To qualify a term to a given field, enter a forward slash followed by a two-letter suffix

Suffix/Code Field Name Indexing
None All basic index fields Word
/AB Abstract Word
/DE (/DF) Descriptor Word/Phrase
/ID (IF) Identifier Word/Phrase
/NT Note Word
/TI Title Word

Suffix Example
None S Inner(W)City(W)Neighbourhood?
/AB S Neighbourhood(W)Affiliation?/AB
/DE S Manipulative(w)materials/DE
S Mathematics activities/DE
/ID S Affiliate(W)behavior/ID
/NT S Child(W)Development/NT
/TI S Geometric(W)thinking/TI

Controlled vocabulary
Descriptors subject-related terms taken from a thesaurus/controlled vocabulary list, assigned to records by professional indexers
Bound descriptors/descriptor phrases multiple-word descriptors, entered into index as each individual word/whole phrase
Identifiers terms assigned to record by indexer generally not from controlled vocabulary. Typically proper nouns, geographic locations, or words not yet in thesauri

Proximity operators
Operator Function Examples Terms retrieved
Words adjacent/in order specific Library(w)science?
Library ( )science?
Library science
Library sciences
(nW) Up to n intervening words in specified order Library(2w)science? Library science
Library sciences
Library with science
Library and information science
(N) Words adjacent and in either order (near operator) Library(N)science? Library science
Library sciences
Science library
Sciences library
(nN) Up to n intervening words, and in either order Library (1N) science Library science
Sciences library
Library with science materials
Science related library
(F) Words in some field, no word order/proximity specified Socrates(F)oz
Both terms in title/abstract
Both terms in the field
database specific
Words in some descriptor unit
Used to link subheadings
Zinc(L)toxicity Zinc as descriptor heading linked to toxicity as subheading
Words in same subfield or paragraph Napoleon (S) France Napoleon and France in same subfield or paragraph

Selecting descriptor terms
If you select a multiple-word phrase, including spaces and punctuation, Dialog retrieves the phrase only if it is an exact descriptor or identifier. e.g. s teaching skills, teaching(w)skills/de, s teaching (w) skills

If you select a single word and restrict with the suffix /DE, Dialog retrieves the word if it appears anywhere in a descriptor term. e.g. s teaching/de

To retrieve a single-word descriptor, but not descriptor phrases containing word, use the suffix /DF, e.g. s teaching/df

Basic index – file 148
Search suffix Display code Field name Select examples
None None All basic index fields S American(W)Bank?
/AB AB Abstract S Citicorp/AB
/CN CN Case name S American(W) Business(W)Service?/CN
/CO CO Company name S Citicorp/CO
/UN UN Ultimate company name
/CP CP Caption S Photograph/CP
/DE DE Descriptor/concept term S Europe/DE
/EN EN Event name S Joint(W)Ventures/EN
/GN GN Geographic name S Europe/GN
/IN IN Industry name S Banking/IN
/LP LP Lead paragraph S Chemical(W)Banking/LP
/NM NM Named person S Gates(1N)Phyllis/NM
/PN PN Product name S Banking(W)Institutions/PN
/ST ST Statue name S Glass(W)Steagall(W)Act/ST
/TI TI Title S Europe(2W)Profits/TI
/TN TN Brand name S Maestro/TN
/TX TX Text S European(W)Operator?/TX
/XF None All basic index fields except full text S Foreign(W)Operations/XF

All indexing is word.
Searching a phrase in the Basic Index of File 148 automatically searches the descriptor field since it is the only phrase-indexed field in the Basic Index.
Searching the word-indexed fields in the Basic Index using proximity connectors to indicate how close you want the terms to appear in relation to one another.

Module 2
Basic Index

Search suffix Field name Indexing
/AB Abstract Word
/DE Descriptor Word/Phrase
/ID Identifier Word/Phrase
/LP Lead Paragraph  Word
/TI Title Word
/TX Text Word

Additional Index (Prefixed fields)
Search suffix Field name Indexing
AU= Author Phrase
BN= ISBN Phrase
CS= Corporate Source Word
JN= Journal Name Phrase
LA= Language Phrase
PD= Publication Date Phrase MMDDYYYY
PY= Publication Year Phrase YYYY
WD= Word Count Numeric
CO= Corporate Name
DT= Document Type 
PC= Product Code/Standard Industrial Classification
TS= Ticker Symbol

Searching the additional indexes
Using a prefix is required when searching the Additional Indexes (S teaching skills and dt=conference?)

To SELECT a group of entries from the same prefixed field, use parentheses (s teaching skills) and dt=(conference paper or journal article)

Use the EXPAND command in phrase-indexed fields (additional indexes) to see how phrases appear in particular field index

Expand command tips
Enter the appropriate prefix for searched index.

Enter only the first part of the name/search term to go to the right index search.

Examine the E numbers list carefully.

Never enter any truncation or proximity operators because Expand is completely literal, character by character.

Selecting the items off the EXPAND list
Select E (or R) numbers off the EXPAND list using either the OR operator or a comma between individual E numbers, or the colon operator to select a range.

Page through up to 50 entries (12 items at a time) on the list by entering P or PAGE. Once you reach 50, must select your E numbers, as you will start a new list of entries.
SELECT all relevant E numbers before entering another EXPAND command. Each new command erases the previous command.

Phrase Indexing versus Word Indexing Tips
Use right hand truncation to pick up multiple endings to a phrase.

Searching general(W)electric in the word-indexed company field (/CO) will retrieve all records where the words occur directly next to one another in that specific order in the /CO field – regardless of any variation in the beginning or end of the company name.

Choosing a database
Have a request.

  1. Use the information list. Consider
    • Clearly defined subject
    • Purpose of search, overview
    • Topic perspective - academic, popular
    • Information quantity
    • Information type - complete article, abstract
    • Known sources - authors, journals, papers
  2. Determine database(s) to provide best information. Consider
    • Content
    • Coverage
    • Currency
    • Cost
Requesting the database description opens another web browser. Dialog is not case sensitive.
Type select [search query]
Click search
Dialog returns a list of databases with topic information and the number of records found. Can reorder results by sorting.
Check databases to search and click “Begin Databases” to run strategy.

Planning a search strategy
  1. Select additional search terms
  2. Use search word variants, truncation
  3. Use proximity connectors to search phrases
  4. Search exact record phrase; search phrases containing stop words, punctuation, hyphens, special characters
  5. Narrow search for precision

Connector Description Example Retrieves
(N) Searches adjacent terms in either order Fiber?(n)optic? Fiber optics
Optics fiber
(W) Searches adjacent terms in exact order Flex(w)time Flex time
(#n) or (#w) Allows additional terms to occur between words Market(5w)share Share of the long distance market
(S) Restricts words to the same paragraph Telecommunication?(S)sales Sales in the...

Logical operators
Logical operators Definition Example
Or Use to group synonymous terms when one must be present Ultraviolet or UV or Ultra (W) violet
AND Use to connect terms when both/all must be present Market(SN)share AND tennis(W)equipment
Using Classic Dialog search commands
Command Example When to use it 
Begin 9
B 9
B 9, 16 current
Business news
Use to begin with a file number to specify databases to be searched
Use current to restrict a search to the current year plus the previous year specified
Select telecommut?
S telecommut?
S merg? or acqui?
S s1 and s2
Use select to create a set of records (e.g. s1) that contains the specified terms

Managing search results
The item numbers can indicate a single record, a range or a non-sequential range of records, enter ALL to see all records.
Command Example When to use it
Type s1/6/1-3
T s 3/9/1,3
T s 2/6, k 1-5,8
To display search results in specified format
Display sets
Display a set of all sets created since the last BEGIN command

Refining a search
The basic index

Display code/search suffix Field name Indexing Select examples
/SL Slogan Word S(ALL)(W)ABOARD(W)/SL
/SP Spokesperson Word S JAMES(W)EARL/SP

The extract field (/XT) searches both the Abstract and Lead Paragraph fields.

Suffix allows searching only most important information within each record, helping to make more precise search strategies.

Suffixes append to the end of a search word, phrase, or set number. Suffixes can be separated by commas.

Additional indexes
These indexes indicate how to narrow a search further by using information other than the search subject. (Display code omits=) All but WD is phrase indexing; WD is numeric indexing.

Display Code/Search Prefix Field name Select examples
AA= RDS Accession number S AA=014621
CT= Concept term S CT=Market share
GC= Graphic code S GC=WOR
MT= Marketing term S MT=General research
RT= Record type S RT=Full text
SF= Special feature S SF=Table
SL= Slogan S SL=All Aboard America
None/SO= Source information
SP= Spokesperson SSP=James Earl Jones
UD=(None) Up to this date S UD=9999
WD= Word count WD>2000

Use truncation at end of a search term expressing a name to retrieve all name variations.
A colon is used to indicate a range of sequential entries to be retrieved.
The format for the Publication Date is usually YYYY, MM, DD (Year, Month, Day)

The Expand command
Use to verify spelling, punctuation, and other variations of the names in the field. Use the E Reference number(s) to SELECT desired entries.

Expand using appropriate prefix and term.

Select the E-numbered lines that contain variations.

Type S2/full/1 to see complete record.

Dialog applications

Dialog can help with a number of tasks:
Monitor competition Track articles
Plan production introduction Locate articles
Research industry development Keep literature updated
Check trademark/patent application/registrations with potential product line impact
Develop marketing strategies Locate market share data and published market research reports, print out
Find merger and acquisition candidates Screen companies based on financial parameters
Locate elusive company 12 million+ public, private, subsidiary, international company listings
Entering multiple operators

Repeat the same proximity operator to connect a series of search terms

Enter most precise operator first – W, N, L, S, F

Alternatively, use parentheses. Use around terms connected with logical operators so that these will be selected first. Select a set number in proximity to another set or to new search terms.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dialog lecture

Basic search example
B to begin
# for database (separate multiple by commas; shorten to abbreviations if searching similar databases)
n for database file number
? searches [search terms]
brackets indicate subject headings
Dialog tells you how many records are available
?T for type view results
s1 = set 1 records
s = view titles and descriptors (free format, browse)
1 = print

Set Items Description
Set number  Number of records containing hits Term(s) as entered in the SELECT COMMAND

Always enter a space after command. Any word/term except stop words can be selected. Phrases must be selected using the (w) command unless the term is a descriptor or identifier.

Multiple terms can be selected when using logical commands. To create a set for each term in the command, use SELECT STEPS (change, recombine terms e.g. bilingualism in Canada, then bilingualism in Belgium).

Open truncation ? retrieves all words beginning with, e.g. with comput? (computers, computer, etc.);
symbolises unlimited length with no intervening
Controlled-length truncation Retrieves all words beginning with a maximum number of letters following word stem
? [space] ? retrieves all words beginning with ? with maximum of one character following word stem
Imbedded character ? for character replacement letter for letter to retrieve either spelling e.g. organisation, organization
If more than one letter, use OR e.g., favor OR favour

Viewing records: TYPE command
Command format
?type s5/2/1-4

s5 /  2 /  1-4
Set number Format Items inclusively; item numbers can be a single record, a range (e.g., 1-4, 6, 9 or ALL/all)

If omitted, default becomes
Item Next record display
Format Format set typed
Set Last set created

LOGOFF log off system
Enter one select command for each concept, combining synonyms and alternative terms with OR logic.
Select the set numbers representing different concepts, combining them with AND logic.

Searching styles
Concept blocks  Break down logically with Boolean searching
Pearl growing "Gem" search for perfect record meeting search criteria
Successive fractions Extremely broad search - breakdown into finer divisions with more limits
Known item matching Situation known item, looking for specific item to verify existence

Stacking Enter several commands in a single line of typing separated by semicolons. A line can contain up to 240 characters.

Narrow search  Broaden
AND concept No concepts; limit
Use fewer terms Use more terms or subject headings
Use proximity operators Truncate left
Truncate right Use broader terms
Qualify/limit Remove qualifiers, limitations

Search the basic index/suffice fields
Select commands searches the entire Basic Index unless the term is qualified by a suffix. Using a suffix is an option when searching the Basic Index. To qualify a term to a given field, enter a slash (/) followed by two letter field suffix. Use a comma to specify either field.

Selecting descriptor terms
Include spaces and punctuation if exact descriptor single word restricted with descriptor, retrieves word anywhere in descriptor term, use DE

Retrieve single word using DF / IF

Searching numeric indexes
: Low/high ends range, e.g. 1986:1991
> Greater than
< Less than
>= Equal to/greater than
<= Equal to/less than

Exact phrases anywhere,
Adjacent/hear other words,
(sub)heading descriptors

Use for-:
Exact phrases anywhere,
Files not employing controlled vocabulary,
Phrases containing stop words, punctuation, hyphens and special characters
Phrases not in thesauri
Particularly new terms
Unusual expressions
Subjects marginally covered

Searching full-text files when using logical operators may be dangerously broad

Narrowing a search to decrease recall and increase proximity precision

Repeat proximity to connect series

Use parentheses

Correct order
– W, N, L, S, F

Use parentheses around connected terms to be processed first

Replace punctuation marks with a (W) operator.

To select from a phrase-indexed field, enter the exact bound phrase with all punctuation intact, if containing slash, apostrophe, or logical operator, enclose the phrase in quotation marks.

Precision versus Recall Search examples
Select command(s) Records Explanation
east and germany 3691 Two words appear in the same record
east(f)germany 3364 Two words appear in same Basic Index Field
east(w)germany 1852 Phrase appears in Basic Index
east(w)germany/ti 559 Phrase appears in title field
s east germany 2 Phrase appears as a Descriptor or Identifier

Searching on terms containing punctuation

To select from a word-indexed field, replace each punctuation mark with a (w) operator.

To select from a phrase-indexed field, enter the exact bound phrase with all punctuation intact. If the phrase contains a slash, apostrophe, or logical operator, enclose the full phrase in quotation marks.

Expand command

Expanding in the Basic Index: ?expand microcomputer

The EXPAND display pauses after every 12 lines. Use PAGE (or P) to see the next 12 lines. Up to 50 lines can be displayed.

Expanding to view the Online Thesaurus

To view the related terms, EXPAND the E number. Each related term is assigned a R reference number. An R-numbered list includes a code describing the relationship.

Expanding on terms containing punctuation

Do not use proximity operators or truncation.

The strings of characters entered after EXPAND is interpreted literally and simply inserted into the index where it fits alphabetically.

Selecting terms after expanding

To retrieve a single entry from an expand list, Select its E/R number. Be sure to SELECT before entering EXPAND. Each EXPAND command creates a new list and erases the previous one.

Selecting multiple terms

Retrieve multiple entries from same EXPAND list synonymously related, use OR logic. Retrieve sequential entries, use colons.

Expanding in additional indexes

Use EXPAND to check entry form for fields containing names.

For author’s name, enter surname and first initial.

For company’s name, enter first part then try variation with abbreviations, punctuation.
For journal name, start by EXPANDING on first word. Notice if database uses abbreviations. If needed, enter a different EXPAND.


Available to facilitate broad restrictions to retrieval. Entered as suffixes in a SELECT command. Limits are highly database specific.

Determine what limits are available – read Bluesheets, enter command HELP LIMIT n (with n being file number)

Enter suffixes in SELECT commands after /

Use /ENG more than LA=English. Use LA= field for other languages. EXPAND to verify entry form.

Current= current year plus the previous year

Expand fields if you’re not sure what a field has available.

Restrict publication date, SELECT from appropriate Additional Index. In databases with PY= field, enter years without prefix as a LIMIT suffix.



Bibliographic Citation
Directory Gives information/description
Business types
Numeric Demographic
Fulltext Complete article

Producers provide information, in which Dialog then makes searchable and accessible within minutes.

Content is constantly updated.

More access points include title, keywords, date, author

Command space data

Begin (b) Put in desirable database File number
Select (s) Locate/display records
Type (t) Followed by format/ 6 title only
5 full record/records to display
3 bibliographic display
Truncation *** Cuts down/typing synonyms Or -1 present
And – all
Not – eliminates
S s1 and s2 Selects sets 1 and 2

(n) non specific word order, requires proximity, include a number for number of intervening words

(w) specific word order between words, looks words up together in a phrase; truncation available

Stop words
Stop words aren’t indexed. They are replaced by proximity operators or enclosed in quotation marks.

Stop words are: of, and, an, by, for, from, the, to, with

An example using stop words would be:

slip? (2w) tongue which would locate “slip of the tongue” with ‘of the’ being the 2 intervening words between slip and tongue

Logical operators are and or not

Components of commands steps, files, set number

symbols = * + : /



everything else in additional indexes

Limit = limit specific

Sort = sort by title/author/journal


Additional indexes – company names, authors, explands

ST = state; CY = city; ZP = zipcode

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dialog Pocket Guide
Sections of interest:
• Basic search commands
• System features