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Even if you’re a die-hard user of the Dialog platform you may not realise how far back Dialog’s history goes. The first version of Dialog was completed in 1966, just as the earliest form of the Internet was being created.

The creation of Dialog was a significant event as it was the first interactive, online search system that allowed users to query large databases and refine the results. Dialog was originally developed by ‘the father of modern online search’, Roger K. Summit, when he was working for Lockheed Martin. Dialog’s real breakthrough came with its first contract with NASA in 1966, receiving an award for the NASA RECON system, which subsequently led to many new contracts.

The Dialog platform has continued to keep pace with technological advances and users’ needs, and today Dialog continues to support broad market segments, from aerospace and biotechnology to patent offices to hospitals. But even though five decades have passed, the principles behind Dialog remain the same: provide “interactive searches and queries”; deliver deep indexing of content to improve the precision of results; and support “nested Boolean expressions” to fine tune search queries.

In recognition of Dialog’s important place in the history of online and database searching, it was recently awarded a prestigious Milestone award from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). As the IEEE explains:


“[the] Milestones program honors significant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE.”

From the submission for the Milestone award for Dialog, it is clear to see why Dialog deserves its place in the Milestones hall of fame:

“Its speed, ease of use, and wide range of data content attracted professional users worldwide including scientists, attorneys, educators and librarians. DIALOG preceded major Internet search tools by more than two decades.”


As well as being included in the list of Milestone recipients on the IEEE website, Dialog’s place as a Milestone recipient has been commemorated with two plaques. One is in the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California and the other in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

You can read the full overview of Dialog’s Milestones award on the IEEE website. You can also watch the video below to see the IEEE Milestone Dedication ceremony:

And while Dialog has come on leaps and bounds since those early days, we’re still focussed on making it easier for anyone to quickly and easily find relevant research. Take a look at the Dialog product page to learn about the latest features in Dialog. And don’t forget to keep an eye on the blog to learn about the newest features appearing on Dialog.