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ProQuest's Digital Microfilm™ service allows multiple, simultaneous users from subscribing libraries to view full-image newspaper content held in microfilm from any computer with internet access

ProQuest is helping libraries revolutionize the use of microfilm with a new technology that provides film with an intuitive, online interface.   ProQuest's Digital Microfilm™ service allows multiple, simultaneous users from subscribing libraries to view full-image newspaper content held in microfilm from any computer with internet access, thereby overcoming the on-site, single-user barriers of traditional microfilm.  Major newspaper publishing companies, such as Dow Jones, Tribune Corporation, McClatchy, and others are participating in the new program with many more publishers being added in the future.

“It’s important to remember that the amount of archival content stored on microfilm absolutely dwarfs what’s available digitally,” said Rod Gauvin, senior vice president of publishing for ProQuest.  “Film content is vital for research and will continue to be for years to come.  The problem, until now, has been microfilm’s accessibility – it is simply overshadowed by the easy access of internet resources.    Our Digital Microfilm technology bridges that gap, allowing libraries to deliver archival information in the way that users expect.” 

The Digital Microfilm™ process works by scanning microfilm and supporting the resulting digital copy on a hosted site.  Users see the content as if they were looking at microfilm through their computer screen, with a browseable full-page image of the newspaper that can be explored.  Content is supported with additional data such as title, year, month, day, and page – that make it easy to skip through “reels.”  In this online environment, the user can view enhanced high resolution grayscale images, scroll through issues, zoom, crop, print, save, and email images.  

 Beyond making access to the newspaper content more broadly available to patrons and researchers, the Digital Microfilm™ online service helps libraries save microfilm storage space and inventory management costs as well as reducing resources required to  maintain microfilm readers and printers.  Further, it protects valuable film from damage and loss.

“With Digital Microfilm, we’re helping librarians leapfrog the need to ‘sell’ use of microfilm to their patrons and open up new paths to valuable content,” said Marty Kahn, CEO of ProQuest.  “It’s one more result of the technological skill and spirit of innovation resident at ProQuest, focused on customer and end-user need.”   

While ProQuest is known for its vast digital information collections, it continues to produce many products in microform since libraries often prefer to store research collections, dissertations, newspapers, and indexes in this more permanent, technology-neutral medium.  Founded as a microfilm publisher and building this special expertise under its UMI® brand, ProQuest owns the largest commercially available microform collection in the world.  Its 2.2 billion page images deliver 500 years of information, drawn from a myriad of literary, journalistic, and scholarly works.  Every year ProQuest adds millions of images of contemporary information to its microfilm vault.

To learn more about the range of ProQuest products, visit


About ProQuest
ProQuest creates specialized information resources and technologies that propel successful research, discovery, and lifelong learning. A global leader in serving libraries of all types, ProQuest offers the expertise of such respected brands as Chadwyck-Healey™, UMI®, SIRS®, and eLibrary®. With Serials Solutions®, Ulrich's™, RefWorks®, COS™, Dialog® and now Bowker® part of the ProQuest brand family, the company supports the breadth of the information community with innovative discovery solutions that power the business of books and the best in research experience.

More than a content provider or aggregator, ProQuest is an information partner, creating indispensable research solutions that connect people and information. Through innovative, user-centered discovery technology, ProQuest offers billions of pages of global content that includes historical newspapers, dissertations, and uniquely relevant resources for researchers of any age and sophistication—including content not likely to be digitized by others. Inspired by its customers and their end users, ProQuest is working toward a future that blends information accessibility with community to further enhance learning and encourage lifelong enrichment.

For more information, visit or the ProQuest parent company website,

23 January 2009

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