Businesses[ edit ] ProQuest was founded as a microfilm publisher. By June , Power worked in two rented rooms from a downtown Ann Arbor funeral parlor, specializing in microphotography to preserve library collections.
Power also noticed a niche market in dissertations publishing. Students were often forced to publish their own works in order to finish their doctoral degree. Dissertations could be published more cheaply as microfilm than as books.
ProQuest still publishes so many dissertations that its Dissertations and Theses collection formerly called Digital Dissertations has been declared the official U.
The company's main newspaper database is ProQuest NewsStand. Xerox owned the company for a time in the s and s; the name of the company changed several times in this period, from University Microfilms to Xerox University Microfilms, to University Microfilms International, then shortened to UMI. At a time when modem connections were slow and expensive, it was more efficient to mail database CD-ROMs regularly to subscribing libraries, who installed the discs on dedicated PCs. An online service called ProQuest Direct was launched in ; its name was later shortened to just ProQuest.
In , the company announced the " Digital Vault Initiative ", purported to include 5. While work continues to digitize the contents of the microfilm vault, ProQuest is already providing navigation of billion digital pages, including nearly 20 million pages of newspaper content dating from pre-Revolutionary War America.
During the — fiscal years, as well as the first three quarters of the fiscal year, ProQuest systematically overstated its net income. Cumulatively, pre-tax profits were overstated by Also in , the company acquired Copley Publishing Group. In , ProQuest LLC acquired complete ownership of RefWorks , a web-based citation manager of which it had been part owner since CIS produced one of the world's most exhaustive online collections of legislative content and highly respected statistical works, while UPA included deep historical content sets.
The acquisition included digital products and an expansive microfilm vault that would leverage ProQuest's strength in conversion from film to searchable electronic formats.
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