- Tech Insights
ProQuest was founded almost 80 years ago when it commercialized the use of microfilm—a pivotal milestone for libraries and researchers. Print works – books, newspapers, dissertations that were susceptible to aging could be preserved indefinitely and distributed to virtually any library. Through indexing, the contents could be searched quickly, simplifying the workflow of researchers.
ProQuest preserves rich, vast and varied information -whether historical archives or today's scientific breakthroughs- and packages it with digital technologies that enhance its discovery, sharing and management. 'At ProQuest, we are launching new services to aggregate open access content into our platform to provide a common discovery and delivery experience for high-quality content whether it comes from traditional publishers or new open access repositories," says Rich Belanger, CIO of ProQuest.
ProQuest's business is now 90% digital and their products are used in virtually every research library on the planet - about 26,000 libraries in 150 countries. Their information archive contains an extraordinary breadth of content not available anywhere else - about 1B search able items, from Stephen Hawking's and Isaac Newton's dissertations to Associated Press reporters notes during the Fall of Saigon to streaming video produced by the Black Panthers. Their academic platform supports 70Million users conducting 1Billion searches per year. ProQuest is particularly noted for content such as digital archives of book s published from 1470 to 1700, newspapers and dissertations and for pioneering technologies that have advanced information discovery and management in libraries.
" At ProQuest, we are launching new services to aggregate open access content into our platform to provide a common discovery and delivery experience for high-quality content whether it comes from traditional publishers or new open access repositories "
The company does extensive end-user research with students and faculty to deeply understand research workflows. Their User Experience, Product Management, and Software Development teams then work together to optimize researcher workflows in their online products. ProQuest uses agile development processes to continuously improve their products and ensure they incorporate the most advanced features for usability and accessibility. ProQuest has the largest collection of digitized content in the world for scholarly research – over 600 million documents, working with libraries, publishers, and content owners around the world to digitize primary source materials in text, image, audio, and video formats into their leading content platforms. Through the use of cloud computing ProQuest has unlimited scalability to add content in near real-time.
In an instance, a university library in California saw an opportunity to serve its campus by offering collaboration and work areas, bringing more students and faculty into the library. However, freeing space for these new areas meant decreasing the size of their collection, which they didn't want to do. ProQuest analyzed the physical collection and noticed the vast amount of space devoted to the university 's printed dissertations. They digitized them, creating an online archive that enabled them to be discovered outside the physical library and freed an entire wing of the building for the collaboration areas the library envisioned.
The company wants to continue expanding geographic reach and add more content to their products. ProQuest has launched more than 20 new content products this year and is continually advancing their workflow software that helps libraries and universities better connect with and serve their students. "We have continually invested in advanced technology including a very powerful, open-source search and content delivery platform with over 1 billion documents and 10 petabytes of online content. Our platforms are hosted with Amazon's AWS cloud computing service to provide unlimited scaling worldwide," adds Belanger.
Proquest provides asset including content, technologies and research outcomes for users and greater efficiency for the libraries and organizations that serve them.