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ProQuest's ABI/INFORM Gets a Content Boost
Posted On October 1, 2002
Over the last several weeks, ABI/INFORM, ProQuest Information and Learning's premier business database, has been getting a welcome infusion of new content. With a steady stream of press releases, ProQuest has announced agreements with both John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Palgrave Macmillan, Ltd. to add many new titles to the database. ProQuest will also expand access to backfiles of key business journals. As I was writing this article, the company announced yet another agreement, this one with Kluwer Academic Publishers. According to a ProQuest representative: "We're working very hard to ensure that ABI/INFORM remains the best, highest quality, and most comprehensive business resource for libraries. And we're working to bring new content to libraries that has never before been available in electronic databases."

The deal with Wiley allows ProQuest to distribute the journal content from Wiley's BoldIdeas Collection of top business journals. The collection comprises 40 titles, 21 of which have been previously indexed in ABI/INFORM. It includes journals and newsletters in the areas of Business, Management, Accounting and Finance, and Environmental Management. Wiley had offered the BoldIdeas Collection online in February 2001 through Wiley InterScience and directly to customers for licensing. This new arrangement with ProQuest will greatly expand the availability of these titles to the academic market.

The Wiley publications include Thunderbird International Business Review, Leader to Leader, Strategic Management, Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance, Human Resource Management, and many more. ProQuest will load 3 years' worth of content for all titles into the current file. In addition, backfiles for 11 titles will be included in the ABI/INFORM Archive, its retrospective image file.

The agreement with Palgrave Macmillan will bring the full text of 11 academic journals to ProQuest's periodicals databases. ProQuest will distribute the journal content to educational institutions, libraries, and other markets around the world. Business titles that will be added to ABI/INFORM include Journal of the Operational Research Society, Asian Business & Management, and European Journal of Information Systems.

The agreement with Kluwer will bring the full text of 125 scientific, technical, and medical business and economics journals to ABI/INFORM and other ProQuest files. Key titles include Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Consumer Policy, Journal of Economic Growth, and many others. Part of the agreement grants ProQuest the right to digitize full-run backfiles (from the first issue forward) of several titles for distribution as part of ABI/INFORM. The digitization schedule will be announced in the next few months.

ProQuest has also integrated ABI/INFORM archival content into the current subscription file so that searching across all years is seamless. The ABI/INFORM Archive database contains historical backfile content for 25 business periodicals, with more titles to be loaded later this year. Customers of ABI/INFORM with full page images will now receive page images of backfile content that has been digitized from the microform masters in ProQuest's vault.

Rod Gauvin, senior vice president of ProQuest Information and Learning, said: "This enhancement greatly expands the historical depth of ABI/INFORM. Now researchers can identify business trends, research pivotal events in the financial world, and most importantly, view the original articles in their original context, complete with photos, charts, graphs, and illustrations."

Amazingly, ABI/INFORM is one of the oldest electronic databases. In 2001 it celebrated its 30th year of providing indexing and abstracting to the best business and management publications. For a tour of the file's history-including its origins as a graduate student project through its ownership by Data Courier, UMI, and now ProQuest-read Marydee Ojala's article in the January/February 2002 issue of ONLINE ( Ojala, who has been searching the database since 1976, details the growth and development of the file, including the addition of controlled vocabulary in 1977 and full-text records in 1991, and the evolution of the abstracts from informative to indicative.

BI/INFORM contains about 2.3 million documents that date to 1971. The database currently offers 1,752 titles, 1,022 of which are in full-text form. With the new content agreements, the file will grow to more than 1,900 titles, with nearly 1,200 in full text. (There's one wrinkle, however. The three publishers that are providing content to ABI/INFORM all have a 12-month embargo on the inclusion of their full text.) In 2001 ProQuest added 176,000 index records to the ABI/INFORM Global file; it expects to add 185,000 in 2002 and 203,000 in 2003. In addition to its availability in a number of incarnations on the ProQuest system, the file is also available through Dialog (File 15), DataStar, STN, and OCLC FirstSearch. Content from the new agreements will also flow into the vendor-supplied versions.

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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