Last updated
Type Private; subsidiary
IndustryInformation and data provider
Headquarters Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
Key people
  • Andy Snyder, Chairman
  • Matti Shem-Tov, CEO
  • Robert VanHees, CFO
Parent Cambridge Information Group

ProQuest LLC is an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based global information-content and technology company, founded in 1938 as University Microfilms by Eugene B. Power. ProQuest provides applications and products for libraries. [1]


ProQuest started as a producer of microfilm products, then became an electronic publisher, [2] and later grew through acquisitions. [1] Today, the company provides tools for discovery and citation management,[ example needed ] and platforms that allow library users to search, manage, use, and share research.[ example needed ]

ProQuest provides access to content, including dissertations, theses, ebooks, newspapers, periodicals, historical collections, governmental archives, cultural archives, [3] and other aggregated databases. This content is estimated to be around 125 billion digital pages. [4] Content is accessed most commonly through library Internet gateways. [2]

The current chief executive officer is Matti Shem Tov. ProQuest is part of Cambridge Information Group.


ProQuest was founded as a microfilm publisher. [5] It began publishing doctoral dissertations in 1939, [6] has published more than 3 million searchable dissertations and theses, [7] [ non-primary source needed ] and is designated as an offsite digital archive for the United States Library of Congress. [8] [ non-primary source needed ] The company's scholarly content includes dissertations and theses, primary source material, ebooks, scholarly journals, [9] historical and current newspapers and periodicals, data sources, and other content of interest to researchers. [10] [ non-primary source needed ] ProQuest Video Preservation and Discovery Service, allows libraries to preserve and provide access to their proprietary audio and video collections. [11]

In May 2014, ProQuest LLC also operated businesses under the following names: [3]


2008 conference booth ASA conference 2008 - 26.JPG
2008 conference booth

Eugene Power, a 1930 M.B.A. graduate of the University of Michigan, founded the company as University Microfilms in 1938, preserving works from the British Museum on microfilm. By June 1938, Power worked in two rented rooms from a downtown Ann Arbor funeral parlor, specializing in microphotography to preserve library collections. In his autobiography Edition of One, Power details the development of the company, including how University Microfilms assisted the OSS during World War II. [19] This work mainly involved filming maps and European newspapers so they could be shipped back and forth overseas more cheaply and discreetly.

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.S. off-site repository of the Library of Congress. [20]

The idea of universal adoption of microfilm publication of doctoral dissertations was furthered considerably by two articles researched and written by a then recent recipient of the doctorate in History at Stanford University. Vaughn Davis Bornet seized on the idea and published "Doctoral Dissertations and the Stream of Scholarship" [21] and "Microfilm Publication of Doctoral Dissertations". [22]

As the dissertations market grew, the company expanded into filming newspapers and periodicals. The company's main newspaper database is ProQuest Newsstand.

In 1962, Xerox acquired the company for 51,750 shares of Xerox common stock, worth about $7.9 million. [23] Under Xerox's ownership, the name of the company changed several times, from University Microfilms to Xerox University Microfilms, to University Microfilms International, then shortened to UMI. In 1985 it was purchased from Xerox by Bell & Howell. [24] In 1986, UMI acquired Data Courier, owner of ABI/INFORM, from the Bingham family. [25]

In the 1980s, UMI began producing CD-ROMs that stored databases of periodicals abstracts and indexes. 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. The ProQuest brand name was first used for databases on CD-ROM. An online service called ProQuest Direct was launched in 1995; its name was later shortened to just ProQuest. [26] The bibliographic databases are mainly sold to schools, universities and libraries.

In 1998, the company announced the "Digital Vault Initiative", purported to include 5.5 billion images digitized from UMI microfilm, including some of the best existing copies of major newspapers dating back 100 to 150 years, and Early English books dating back to the 15th century. While work continues to digitize the contents of the microfilm vault, ProQuest is already providing navigation of 125 billion digital pages, including nearly 20 million pages of newspaper content dating from pre-Revolutionary War America.

In 1999, the company name changed to Bell & Howell Information and Learning, and then in 2001 to ProQuest Information and Learning; Bell & Howell renamed itself the ProQuest Company. [27]

Also in 1999, the company acquired Chadwyck-Healey, a one-time microfilm publishing company that was one of the first to produce full-text CD-ROM databases. This acquisition gave Proquest ownership of a 100+ person publishing operation based in Cambridge, England and became the basis for a substantial overseas expansion.

During the 2000–2004 fiscal years, as well as the first three quarters of the 2005 fiscal year, ProQuest systematically overstated its net income. Cumulatively, pre-tax profits were overstated by 129.9 million dollars (or about 31 percent). [28] In 2008, Voyager Learning Company and ProQuest's CFO (from the time of the earnings overstatements) settled SEC "charges without admitting or denying the allegations of the SEC's complaint". [29]

In 2001 ProQuest acquired Norman Ross Publishing, a small New York based microfilm publisher. [30]

In 2002 ProQuest acquired, a company founded in 1999 with the combined assets of ProQuest's K-12 division and Infonautics Inc.'s K-12 business.. [31]

In 2004, ProQuest Information and Learning acquired Seattle start-up Serials Solutions, a venture providing access management and search services for content hosted by other companies.

Also in 2004, the company acquired Copley Publishing Group. [32]

In 2006, ProQuest Company, then the parent company of ProQuest Information and Learning, sold it to Cambridge Information Group, owner of R. R. Bowker. [33] From the time of this sale, this article follows the history of ProQuest Information and Learning, not ProQuest Company. (ProQuest Company subsequently renamed itself to Voyager Learning Company, and later became part of Cambium Learning Group. [34] )

In 2007, ProQuest Information and Learning was merged with CSA to form ProQuest CSA. Later that year it was renamed ProQuest LLC.

In 2008, ProQuest LLC acquired complete ownership of RefWorks, a web-based citation manager of which it had been part owner since 2001. RefWorks was merged with ProQuest's existing COS business to form RefWorks/COS. [35]

Also in 2008, ProQuest acquired Dialog, a major online database firm, from Thomson Reuters. [36] [37]

In 2010, ProQuest acquired two properties from LexisNexis, Congressional Information Service (CIS) and University Publications of America (UPA). 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. [38]

In 2011, ProQuest acquired Ebrary, an online digital library of full texts of over 170,000 scholarly e-books. [39] In 2013, ProQuest acquired Ebook Library (EBL), with plans to combine ebrary and EBL into a single e-book platform. [40]

In 2014, ProQuest acquired Pi2 Solutions, a privately owned company specializing in Drug Safety Triager (DST) & Product Literature Database (PLD) systems for the biopharmaceutical industry. The company aligned Pi2 Solutions with its ProQuest Dialog corporate information service. [41]

In 2015, ProQuest acquired SiPX [42] and Coutts Information Services, including the MyiLibrary platform and the Online Acquisitions and Selection Information System (OASIS). [43]

In October 2015, ProQuest acquired Ex Libris. It was to merge the Workflow Solutions division of ProQuest, which included the former Serials Solutions, into Ex Libris, with the enlarged entity to be named "Ex Libris, a ProQuest Company". [44]

In June 2016, ProQuest acquired Alexander Street Press, a provider of streaming videos and ebooks. [45]

In January 2020, ProQuest acquired III Innovative Interfaces, a provider of technology solutions to academic and public libraries.


Among the products the company sells to clients such as public and research libraries are: [46] [47] [48] [49] [50]

See also

Related Research Articles

EBSCO Information Services distributor of eBooks and other digital media

EBSCO Information Services, headquartered in Ipswich, Massachusetts, is a division of EBSCO Industries Inc., a private company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. EBSCO provides products and services to libraries of very many types around the world. Its products include EBSCONET, a complete e-resource management system, and EBSCOhost, which supplies a fee-based online research service with 375 full-text databases, a collection of 600,000-plus ebooks, subject indexes, point-of-care medical references, and an array of historical digital archives. In 2010, EBSCO introduced its EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) to institutions, which allows searches of a portfolio of journals and magazines.

Dialog is an online information service owned by ProQuest, who acquired it from Thomson Reuters in mid-2008.

Serials Solutions was a division of ProQuest that provided e-resource access and management services (ERAMS) to libraries. These products enabled librarians to more easily manage electronic resources that serve the needs of their users. Serials Solutions became part of ProQuest Workflow Solutions in 2011 and the "Serials Solutions" name was retired in 2014. In 2015, Proquest acquired Ex Libris Group, a library automation company with many similar products to those of ProQuest Workflow Solutions. The Workflow Solutions division was to be merged with Ex Libris into a new business group called Ex Libris, a ProQuest Company.

Alexander Street Electronic academic database publisher

Alexander Street is an electronic academic database publisher. It was founded in May 2000 in Alexandria, Virginia, by Stephen Rhind-Tutt (President), Janice Cronin (CFO), and Eileen Lawrence. As of January 2016, the company had grown to more than 100 employees with offices in the United States, Australia, Brazil, China, and the United Kingdom. In June 2016, it was acquired by ProQuest.

R. R. Bowker LLC is an American limited liability company based in New Providence, New Jersey, and incorporated in Delaware. Among other things, Bowker provides bibliographic information on published works to the book trade, including publishers, booksellers, libraries, and individuals; its roots in the industry trace back to 1868. Bowker is the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), a universal method of identifying books in print. Bowker is the publisher of Books in Print and other compilations of information about books and periodical titles. It provides supply chain services and analytical tools to the book publishing industry. Bowker is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operational offices in England and Australia. It is now owned by Cambridge Information Group.


InfoTrac is a family of full-text databases of content from academic journals and general magazines, of which the majority are targeted to the English-speaking North American market. As is typical of online proprietary databases, various forms of authentication are used to verify affiliation with subscribing academic, public, and school libraries. InfoTrac databases are published by Gale, a part of Cengage Learning.

CSA was a division of Cambridge Information Group and provider of online databases, based in Bethesda, Maryland before merging with ProQuest of Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2007. CSA hosted databases of abstracts and developed taxonomic indexing of scholarly articles. These databases were hosted on the CSA Illumina platform and were available alongside add-on products like CSA Illustrata. The company produced numerous bibliographic databases in different fields of the arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, and technology. Thus, coverage included materials science, environmental sciences and pollution management, biological sciences, aquatic sciences and fisheries, biotechnology, engineering, computer science, sociology, linguistics, and other areas.

ABC-Clio, LLC is a publishing company for academic reference works and periodicals primarily on topics such as history and social sciences for educational and public library settings. ABC-Clio provides service to fifteen different online databases which contain over one million online textbooks. The company consults academic leaders in the fields they cover in order to provide authority for their reference titles. The headquarters are located in Santa Barbara, California.

The GeoRef database is a bibliographic database that indexes scientific literature in the geosciences, including geology. Coverage ranges from 1666 to the present for North American literature, and 1933 to the present for the rest of the world. It currently contains more than 2.8 million references. It is widely considered one of the preeminent literature databases for those studying the earth sciences.

The National Social Science Documentation Centre (NASSDOC), a constituent unit of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), was established in 1969. The objective of the NASSDOC is to provide library and information support services to social science researchers.


Airiti Incorporation headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, is a Chinese e-content provider of Chinese academic e-journals, Taiwanese academic e-journals, classical art images to more than 450 libraries in 2006 and has extended to more than 72,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories around the world.

Khazar University Library Information Center

The Khazar University Library and Information Center (KULIC) is the library of Khazar University in Baku. It maintains five branches open to the public: the main library on the Nefchilar Campus; the Downtown Campus library; Alatava Campus library (at the Dunya School, Sumqait Dunya School Library and Ganja Dunya School Library.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) is an online database that indexes, abstracts, and provides full-text access to dissertations and theses. The database includes over 2.4 million records and covers 1637 to the present. It is produced by ProQuest and was formerly known as ProQuest Digital Dissertations. The bibliographic database is known as Dissertations Abstracts or Dissertations Abstracts International.

ebrary was an online digital library which held over 100,000 scholarly e-books in 2014. It was available in many academic libraries and provided a set of online database collections that combined scholarly books from over 435 academic, trade, and professional publishers. It also included sheet music and government documents. Additionally, ebrary offered a service called "DASH!" for customers to distribute their own PDF content online.

The Energy Science and Technology Database (EDB) is a multidisciplinary file containing worldwide references to basic and applied scientific and technical research literature. The information is collected for use by government managers, researchers at the national laboratories, and other research efforts sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the results of this research are transferred to the public. Abstracts are included for records from 1976 to the present day.

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The Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA) is an international abstracting and indexing tool designed for library professionals and other information specialists. LISA covers the literature in Library and information science (LIS) since 1969 and currently abstracts 440+ periodicals from 68+ countries and in 20+ languages.

Dissertation Abstracts, Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI) or the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) database is a bibliography of American dissertations published since 1938 by University Microfilms International (UMI) / ProQuest, Ann Arbor. UMI has had an agitated life and the bibliographical data have often shifted owner and name, and therefore appears under different labels. It covers doctoral dissertations accepted at accredited American institutions since 1861. Selected Masters theses have been included since 1962; since 1988, the database includes citations for dissertations from 50 British universities that are available at The British Document Supply Centre. Additionally, it covers a limited number of dissertations from the rest of the world.

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