“Absolutely terrific. Well thought out design. And FREE. I love it,” commented James Matarazzo, dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences at Simmons College. The recently announced ProQuest Graduate Education Program (GEP) offers library schools and other educational settings a way for students and teachers to reach the company’s full array of resources. Maria Ziermer, global manager of ProQuest GEP, explained that part of the problem in the past was the difficulty of setting up passwords and access procedures for resources spread across the company’s divisions. The GEP is built around a social network solution to the problem in the new Discover More Corps, where resources can not only be reached but also discussed and shared.
Segments of ProQuest GEP service come from ProQuest’s central operations, as well as Bowker, Dialog, ebrary, Serials Solutions’ Summon web-scale discovery service, and RefWorks. ProQuest has plans to expand the program, e.g., by significant improvements in coming months to the oldest program designed to serve LIS school needs, the well-reputed Dialog Quantum2. At this point, ProQuest’s program stands in contrast to other library market vendors for its breadth and generosity of pricing.
Most of the services included in GEP are based on legacy services from different components of ProQuest. The innovation lies in the integration and expansion through the social network approach. Besides access to the bulk of databases carried and/or created by ProQuest, it also supplies teaching tools, training support, development opportunities, and awards and scholarships. Customized training and class presentations from ProQuest expert staff are available live on site or through the web and via recorded classes. A Student Trainer Internship Program recruits select graduate LIS students to become ProQuest trainers in their schools, which also gives them enriched resumes for future employers to consider. The Roger K. Summit Scholarship, an annual award named after the founder of Dialog, is a $5,000 award to a top LIS student from anywhere in the world. There is a similar award for a Canadian paraprofessional student.
The databases accessible through GEP include 32 from ProQuest, two from Bowker, ebrary Library and Knowledge Management Center’s ebooks, five from ProQuest’s Government and Primary Source Collections, RefWorks research management tools, and two from Serials Solutions, including The Summon Service. According to Ziermer, it does not offer access to the full files. For example, the National Newstand coverage only taps five titles and the Historical Newspapers coverage is only The Washington Post. As she put it, “We’ve designed it to give students an idea of the construction, a wide range of tools and services so they can understand the different content and how it impacts on searchability.” One ProQuest source notable by its absence is the new end-user Udini service, but Ziermer is clearly an expansionist at heart and has her eye on that too.
Instructional courses supplied by ProQuest staff are all customizable, include recorded online sessions, and cover the following topics:
- Careers in Electronic Publishing
- Working Effectively With Vendors
- Managing the Research Process With RefWorks
- Marketing Electronic Resources
- Leadership in Deep Indexing
- A&I at ProQuest—What It Is and How It’s Done
- ProQuest K-12: Serving the Needs of Early Researchers
- Product Training
For faculty designing their own curricular materials, the company provides ProQuest Training Materials, ProQuest LibGuides, Search Planning Worksheets, and Student Use Agreements.
A special package of “Educational Resources Program” K-12 databases are made available to faculty and school librarian media center students at schools of education recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The program is not open campuswide. Resources for this portion of GEP are CultureGrams, ebrary, ProQuest Historical Newspapers—The New York Times Graphical Edition, ProQuest Research Library Prep, SIRS Discoverer, and SIRS Issues Researcher. Service also includes ProQuest training teams on-site and/or remotely for classes using these products.
For some 35 years, Dialog, now a component of ProQuest, has run the Quantum leadership skills development program for information professionals. The Quantum2 series now forms part of the GEP package, but it is still available to all LIS professionals, both current practitioners and future. And, now it is really free. In the past, once an institution went over its scheduled amount of service, it might start seeing an invoice. Users reach the Quantum2 set of services and resources through a click-through in the Discover More Corps. It will also reach the ProQuest and RefWorks Marketing Toolkits. The Quantum2 program includes workshops, case studies, white papers, and links to additional resources
Ziermer explained the authorization standards for joining the program.
As far as qualifications, we offer different packages of resources to different organizations. For example, ALA-accredited programs and programs outside of North America offering advanced, accredited degrees are eligible for the full program and complete suite of resources available, including ProQuest Dialog. Community colleges, and programs offering associates degrees or certificate programs are eligible for a modified package of complimentary access to products, and schools in North America recognized by NCATE that offer degrees in education or in school library media are eligible to receive complimentary access to the K12 products. That said, everything is negotiable, and if an instructor at a community college makes a case for teaching patent searching to her students, then we would certainly consider the request.
To join the free program, LIS faculty register for the GEP on the Discover More Corps and open up the GEP and its resources to their students. Sharing best practices and advice and connecting with current and future information professionals is open to any user from around the globe. It lets faculty access instructional materials, practice searches, and course assignments developed by ProQuest. Discover More Corps is hosted by Ning.
It’s not just a one-way street, according to Ziermer. ProQuest is looking forward to the feedback it will get from the experience. “We want feedback for product development. These are our future partners and collaborators. We especially like hearing from library science students. Often because they are studying so much, they can see trends better and gain us innovative insights that harried working librarians might overlook. This is a great way to connect with them and capitalize on their ideas.”
In comparison with other library market vendors, Matarazzo indicated that the GEP could put ProQuest way out ahead with library schools. He mourned that other vendors in the field seemed to be shutting down their push to the library market as expressed in service to tomorrow’s librarians.