Dialog: The Beginning of Online Search

Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 - 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm PDT          


This is an IEEE Silicon Valley Tech History Committee event.

The complete video recording of this event, broken into convenient segments, is here.  The slides are here, and photos from the event are here.

Dialog is a computer service that allows users to interactively search databases using keywords.  When it was first used by NASA in 1967 and then commercially available in 1972, remote access was by way of a modem and telephone line. Dialog’s unique capabilities allow scientists, engineers and others to stay current with work in their fields.  Created within Lockheed Corp., the system has been particularly popular for pharmaceutical, engineering, scientific, medical, educational and intellectual property research.

Prior to the availability of Dialog, research of existing work was performed primarily using printed published literature, microfilm and periodically-published indexes.  The system has been in continual use for 50 years, including the 27 years that preceded the emergence of Internet search engines such as Lycos, Infoseek, AltaVista, Yahoo! and Google.  Dialog broke ground for online search and provided a sound foundation for all that followed.

In this program, a panel of former Dialog employees and a Dialog user will discuss the insights that led to its development, how it grew as an intrepreneurial project within Lockheed, the transition to a services business as the Dialog Information Services company, strategies that led to its growth and dominance within the industry, and how Dialog was an important government, educational and corporate tool.  Also discussed will be its sale to Knight-Ridder in 1988.


About the speaker, Roger Summit, PhD

Roger Summit is the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Dialog.  He conducted pioneering work starting in 1964 that led to the creation of Dialog, and held executive positions there until his retirement in 1992.  He has served on national and international advisory boards, in professional associations, has received numerous honors, and has published over 100 papers and journal articles based on his knowledge of and experience with online information services.


About the speaker, Elizabeth Trudell, MLS

Elizabeth Trudell joined Dialog in 1983 and has been as a long-time member of the executive team, serving as VP of Global Marketing and VP of Product Management.  She has extensive experience in marketing, product management and strategic planning in the information industry, and she led the development and launch of the first web interface for Dialog.  Since 2014, she has been an Associate in the Information and Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) program at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies.  She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI) at San Jose State University’s I-School, and is Vice Chair of the Board of the non-profit organization Subud California.


About the speaker, Robert Simons, JD

Bob Simons joined Dialog in 1981, and served as General Counsel for 17 years.  Because of Dialog’s unique data access requirements, his activities ranged from developing database license agreements to serving as Dialog’s liaison to the Information Industry Association.  Simons also testified before government committees and panels in the US, Europe and Asia about the value of information to the emerging institutions that were able to benefit from online research. He currently provides legal guidance and advice to the pathology imaging products team of Leica Biosystems, a division of the Leica’s microscope company.


About the speaker, Peter Rusch, PhD

Peter Rusch’s PhD in Chemistry and his interest in computers and chemical information led to his joining the Chemical Abstracts Service’s research department at the American Chemical Society.  In that position he helped customers understand the increasing offerings of chemical information that were then distributed on magnetic tape media.  That work evolved to his being technical liaison to the developing online services.  After joining Dialog in 1975, he developed its chemical and patent information services.
 


About the speaker, 
Deborah Hunt, MLS, ECMp
of Mechanics' Institute Library

Deborah Hunt has pursued parallel librarian careers in digital asset management and knowledge management, and beyond.  She first used Dialog in 1984 to research scholarly works while assisting doctoral students in their areas of specialty.  This made Hunt quickly appreciate Dialog’s power, and she went on to found the first online user’s group in Nevada.  Her work led her to write The Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills forHi Information Professionals.  Deborah is currently Library Director at the San Francisco-based Mechanics’ Institute Library, a consultant at Information Edge and a co-teacher of the Knowledge Management/Knowledge Services Certificate courses at Special Libraries Association (SLA) of which she is past President.


Location: KeyPoint Credit Union, Santa Clara, CA

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