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Digital archives in libraries enable novice historians to explore past elections

“These records provide extraordinary detail of the debates leading up to general elections in the UK over time, providing a comprehensive public record of politics day by day,” said ProQuest Publisher Marta Lee-Perriard. “This will be of interest to not only historians but students and scholars of political, racial, cultural studies and many other disciplines.”

Available through library web sites around the world, ProQuest Historical Newspapers enables users to read past issues page by page or quickly zero in on articles of interest.  Sophisticated technology makes searching easy, but the articles look just as they did the day they appeared in the newspaper. Its ease of use makes exploring past elections accessible for even the most novice user.

A simple search of The Guardian reveals that the MPs expenses scandal reared its head back in 1962. In “MPs Reply to ‘Tax-Privilege’ charge” it was reported that Mr. James Callaghan (Labour, Cardiff SE) was allowed to raise the question of MPs’ expenses. In response, he said that there had been “considerable misrepresentation in the press.”

The state of the National Health Service has long been a political concern. In 2000, Peter Wintour of The Guardian wrote in the article NHS Facing Winter Crisis, “Senior strategists are terrified of stories of patients again waiting on hospital trolleys, fearing that news could irretrievably damage the perceived competence of the government.”

Political parties feared public speaking almost as much as today’s broadcasted public debates. In 1951, The Observer commentator Edward Crankshaw, wrote vividly about electioneering in London, “Night after night, on portable platforms…intrepid orators tackle what comes to them. It is not easy for Conservative speakers to convince men and women long experienced in hardship and insecurity that Conservatives and Socialists between the wars stood equally and disastrously clueless in face of an economic earthquake which no one understood.” While in 1963, The Guardian reports that, “Tories fail to win over the young: Not talking their language,” a claim that is still made against most political parties today.

Predictions for the future prosperity of Britain provide a chilling warning for our own future. The Observer stated in March of 1976, in an article entitled The Next Leader that, ”Whoever is elected Prime Minister is unlikely to see Britain’s fundamental economic problems solved during his period in office. In the zeal of electioneering, that uneasy probability is often shoved aside.”

ProQuest Historical Newspapers, the definitive digital archive, offers more than three centuries and 25 million digitized pages of US and international news, first-hand accounts and opinions that bring history to life, from The Wall Street Journal to The Times of India. ProQuest’s news content is among the world’s most extensive troves of primary source information, including more than 900 current newspapers and 300 editorially-vetted blogs from around the world, ProQuest Historical Newspapers™, and content from more than 300 U.S. and international broadcast news outlets. With an all-new platform in the works for 2010, the breadth of this content will be integrated and available through a single search, creating a robust new avenue for research.

About ProQuest

ProQuest creates specialized information resources and technologies that provide the most successful ways for people to search, find, use, and share information.

A global leader in serving libraries of all types, ProQuest offers the expertise of such respected brands as UMI®, Chadwyck-Healey™, 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 level and sophistication—including content not likely to be digitized by others.

The company is nearing launch of an all-new platform that will transform delivery of several highly-regarded individual platforms into a consolidated research experience that will encompass all ProQuest family products over time.  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, please visit www.proquest.com.

23 April 2010


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ProQuest Press Team

Beth Dempsey
Public Relations Manager
Beth.Dempsey@proquest.com
(734) 707-2665

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